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Financial implications of gray divorces in Missouri

People who live in the St. Charles area may have anticipated that whenever a widely publicized divorce case is featured in the news, it is about celebrities who have substantial assets However, couples aged 50 years and above who decide to divorce may also be regarded as seeking a high-asset divorce. This may be true if retirement plans, pensions and a 401(k) plan are taken into account.

In Missouri, dealing with the issues of a high-net worth divorce includes real estate, stock options and other business assets. These assets and properties should be divided fairly; often, the process of property division is contentious. But, dividing the marital assets between the spouses is not always easy.

According to a recent report from Bowling Green State University, the number of divorce cases that involve people in their 50s has doubled from 1990 through 2010. The increasing rate of "gray divorces" may not be surprising because people today are living longer and the baby boomer generation contributes to those increased numbers.

Unfortunately, the increase in gray divorces has certain disadvantages, particularly when it comes to property division. A late-in-life divorce may introduce conflicts regarding the division of retirement accounts, benefit pensions and 401(k) accounts. There may be tax consequences in instances where one spouse wants to withdraw the money from the retirement account. In addition, gray divorces may not be beneficial for the low-wage-earning spouse because it can delay retirement or weaken the possibility of the person having enough money on which to retire. Furthermore, other assets, specifically the residential home, may not be worth keeping.

When it comes to property division or other legal issues, gray divorces can come with a number of challenges. Facing such circumstances with an attorney is a very good idea. Doing so may allow both parties involved to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement in the divorce. It may also allow both parties to walk away satisfied with the divorce agreement.

Source: Bakersfield Californian, "Steven Van Metre: U.S. experiencing 'Gray Divorce Revolution," Steven Van Metre, Mar. 13, 2013

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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