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Can you afford a 'gray divorce' over the age of 65?

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A "gray divorce" is a divorce that occurs later in life, typically after the age of 65. In fact, divorces involving couples over age 65 account for 25 percent of all Americans who divorce after the age of 50. This type of divorce has also more than doubled since 1990. These divorces have caused quite a bit of financial strain on the couples, especially the women.

Many couples wait to get divorced until after 50 because they can avoid battles of child custody and support. But, divorcing at this point in life can be very difficult because you do not have as much time to rebuild assets.

If you decide to divorce after 50, or even after 65, you will likely need to change your standard of living. Lengthy marriages typically build up a lot of value in the family home. Should one of the spouses wish to remain in the family home, he or she may be required to forego retirement or other forms of assets in exchange.

The person who remains in the home may not be able to afford it after the divorce is final. Taxes, upkeep and other finances can become too much to handle. Take a long look at your financial ability to remain in the home before deciding against selling it.

An important tip to consider is entering into a postnuptial agreement if you feel the marriage is taking a wrong turn, but not yet close to divorce. The postnuptial agreement might never be needed, but it can become an important document if you do decide to divorce after the age of 65. These agreements are very helpful as they allow you to remove some of the uncertainty that accompanies a divorce.

A large number of gray divorces take quite a while to settle because of the division of assets. The reason for this is that hedge funds and other private equity holdings can be difficult to split during a divorce.

An experienced family law attorney in Bethesda, Maryland can answer all of your questions regarding alimony.

Source: wtop, "Over 65? How to know if you can afford a 'gray divorce'," Dawn Doebler, Feb. 21, 2017

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