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Understanding the financial implications of a gray divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Divorce |

Successful marriages can withstand the test of time, but that is not always the case. Over time, even people in loving and long-term relationships can grow apart, which is one of the reasons the gray divorce rate is rising. Gray divorce is when older couples, usually those over 50, file for divorce.

Getting a divorce later in life may mean that you and your spouse have accumulated considerable and valuable assets together throughout your marriage. However, it also means that you have gotten used to a certain standard of living.

Pension distributions and retirement accounts

If you have been married for a long time, your pension and retirement accounts could be your most substantial marital assets. The problem is that determining how to divide assets like 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts and pensions can be an incredibly complex undertaking. You need a thorough understanding of federal tax laws to ensure you get your fair share. Maryland’s property laws will also affect the division of pension and retirement accounts. Remember, even though you took on a domestic role in your marriage, you still have a right to the percentage of your spouse’s pension.

Property division

The length of a marriage and the age of the divorcing spouses both play a crucial role in determining an equitable distribution of marital property in Maryland. Although, it might be difficult to distinguish between marital and separate property, especially when you have commingled your assets and the supporting documents are decades old. If you or your spouse own a business, you would need to determine the value of the business and the contributions of each spouse to the business before it can be subject to property division. It might be important to note that keeping the marital home can be more expensive than you realize.

Social Security benefits

If you have been married for at least 10 years, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your former spouse’s work record. You may want to consider including it in your divorce settlement agreement, as these benefits can provide you with another potential source of income.

A gray divorce will impact your retirement plans, but it could also present you with an opportunity to rebuild a life of your choosing. You can enjoy your golden years without worrying about finances if you approach your divorce proactively.

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