Harrison & Medlin, P.C.
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'Gray divorce' and retirement

Divorces for spouses who are at least 50 years old can be particularly devastating from a financial standpoint. Unfortunately, statistics show that more and more Georgia couples are dealing with "gray divorce." The Pew Research Center reports that the rate of divorce for adults who are age 50 or older is two times what it was in the 1990s. While shorter marriages and second marriages carry the most risk, the majority of gray divorces tend to take place among couples who have been married for at least 30 years.

A divorce that takes place late in life can have a substantial negative impact on the retirement security of both parties involved. However, there are some things older adults can do to help mitigate the impact a divorce can have on their retirement finances.

It is important for individuals to avoid allowing their emotions to guide the decisions they make about their finances. It may be tempting to want to spend money to project a certain facade to others. However, being cautious about spending during this particularly emotional time is the best way to be secure.

Having all the necessary financial paperwork is also important. Both parties of divorce should have at least three years of tax returns. They should also collect all credit and bank card statements, retirement account statements, receipts pertaining to current taxes, insurance documents and registration documents for vehicles.

Both parties should be able to verify which assets are jointly held. A credit report should be obtained to reveal all debts for which they may be solely or jointly responsible.

A family law attorney may work to ensure that an older soon-to-be ex obtains divorce settlement terms that protect their retirement assets. Litigation may even be used as a last resort.

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