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"Gray divorce" carries financial consideration

A growing number of older couples in Indiana and across the country are choosing to end their marriages later in life. Nationally, the divorce rate for people 50 and older has doubled since 1990, at the same time when the rate has stayed stagnant or even declined for other generations. There are a number of reasons why more people are deciding to end their marriages in their golden years. People are living longer, healthier lives and want to enjoy their time, and parents who waited to separate until their kids were grown may now not care. In addition, older Americans are members of the same generation that changed social attitudes about divorce overall.

However, there are also important financial considerations that may be particularly important to keep in mind in the case of gray divorce. In the first place, retirement savings often represent one of the largest assets held by these couples. Dividing a retirement plan can be complicated, and many require a specialized court order called a qualified domestic relations order.

There are also tax considerations to take into account, especially given the changes in tax law under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While payers of alimony were once tax-exempt, while recipients paid taxes on the income, this arrangement has been switched. As a result, many people are receiving smaller amounts of spousal support. Older couples may want to consider negotiating spousal support through their retirement funds in order to preserve an outcome similar to the prior tax structure.

Divorce is a financial process as well as a legal and emotional one. A family law attorney may help people of any age to negotiate a settlement on major issues like property division and alimony.

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Robert Schembs
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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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