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Financial issues for older adults to consider in divorce

Older adults in Ohio may be more likely to get divorced than younger couples. The divorce risk now is more than twice as high for couples 65 and older than it was in 1990. The rate has also increased for people 55 and older.

There are a number of reasons why this is happening. Over the decades, a couple may simply be preoccupied with raising children and working. However, they might eventually find that they have grown apart. Divorce is more acceptable than in previous generations.

One step of the divorce process involves identifying what property is shared and working out who gets what. For example, inheritances are usually considered individual property unless they are mingled with marital property. Ohio is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets are supposed to be divided fairly. This can be more complicated than it sounds.

The process of dividing pensions plans and retirement accounts may be particularly complex. Calculating alimony may be difficult too. For older adults, compensation may include not just salary but stock options and more. If one spouse does pay alimony to the other, a life insurance policy can ensure the lower-earning spouse still gets compensation if the paying spouse dies. A lower-earning spouse might also be able to draw on a higher-earning spouse's Social Security benefits after retirement if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer.

One of the challenges of a gray divorce is that individuals simply have less time in the workforce to rebuild financial losses. However, some couples do work together to try to minimize the financial burden. For example, a spouse who earns significantly more might give the lower-earning a spouse a larger share of the retirement account. If the home is paid for, this could be a low-cost place for one spouse to live in. A family law attorney could help a client create a fair divorce agreement.

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Kroener Hale Law Firm
101 N. Riverside Dr.
Batavia, OH 45103

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