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What to know about gray divorce

If you are among the millions of Americans who divorce later in life, the decisions you must make and the transitions you must go through may differ considerably from those faced by younger divorcees. According to U.S. News and World Report, the divorce rate among couples over 50 doubled within a recent 10-year period, with many older couples choosing to go their separate ways for a variety of reasons.

In some cases, married couples try and stay together “for the children,” and then once the kids move out, they proceed with divorce. Others find that, once they reach a certain age, they no longer share the common ties with their spouses that once bound them. Regardless of your reasoning for entering into a gray divorce, there are certain things you should know about the process. More specifically, know that:

Your retirement accounts will likely decrease

In most cases, the amount of money you and your spouse have in your retirement accounts gets split between you, should you divorce. This is typically the case even if one spouse is more to blame for the divorce than the other, so it is wise to take a good, hard look at your retirement accounts and then budget for retirement based on half of what was in them during your marriage.

You will likely give or receive alimony

Many couples going through gray divorces had long, multi-decade marriages, which is why alimony is a common factor in many such splits. While, when younger couples divorce, one party may only have to pay alimony for a set amount of time, lifelong alimony is far more common among older divorcing couples.

Prenuptial agreements may prove wise before second marriages

Statistics show that you are more likely to divorce if you are on your second or third marriage, as opposed to your first, and you are also more likely to have amassed considerable assets if you are divorcing later in life. Thus, you may want to create a prenuptial agreement before remarrying as a means of protecting yourself.

Gray divorce involves special considerations, and understanding what they are may help you avoid common divorce mistakes that could cost you in the long run.

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