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Planning for retirement in the midst of a divorce

Many individuals age 50 and older are beginning to enter a new chapter in their lives. In many cases, children are grown and out of the home and questions related to retirement financing and planning loom in the not-so-distant future. In addition to these momentous and, in some cases, difficult life changes; research indicates that a growing number of U.S. men and women age 50 and older are also dealing with the many changes that accompany divorce.

Why are so many Americans choosing to divorce after years spent raising children and building and sharing their lives together? University researchers who conducted the 2013 study, The Gray Divorce Revolution: Rising Divorce Among Middle-aged and Older Adults, 1990-2010, cite a number of contributing factors.

For a large percentage of gray divorces, their most-recent split from a spouse is not their first. Statistics prove that individuals who remarry after a divorce are more likely to divorce again. This appears to be true for a significant percentage of gray divorcees. Additionally, the stigma that once surrounded divorce is largely gone as the U.S. divorce rate continues to hover around 50 percent.

Going through a divorce at any age can be difficult. For gray divorcees, the financial difficulties associated with a late-in-life split can be particularly challenging. In fact some economists contend retirement costs increase "as much as 40 to 50 percent or higher," for gray divorcees. With a relatively short period of time to recoup financial losses, financially-strapped gray divorcees often have few options but to work well past age 65.

For Clarksville area residents age 50 and older who plan to divorce, it's important to hire an attorney who has experience handling gray divorces. An attorney can provide advice and assist an individual in securing assets and income from retirement accounts, Social Security benefits, property and investments.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Study: Divorce proves tough for couples 50 and over," Tim Grant, Oct. 24, 2014

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