Yaffa Family Law Group
By: Doreen Yaffa

What Should You Know About Dividing Assets in a Later-in-Life Divorce?


The rapidly rising divorce rate for couples who are fifty and older has generated a great deal of concern and discussion. If you are fifty or over, and if you are considering divorce in South Florida, arrange as quickly as possible to speak with a Boca Raton divorce attorney.

According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for couples who are in their fifties and sixties has almost doubled in the last twenty-five years. At any age, divorce is difficult, but if you’re older, and if you have not protected yourself financially, a divorce can be devastating.

Divorce presents considerable challenges to older couples. Retirement accounts, Social Security benefits, and health insurance coverage all must be considered and protected. You’ll need a divorce lawyer who will aggressively protect your legal rights, assets, and long-term best interests.

It isn’t easy to divorce a partner after thirty years or more, but if you choose to divorce – or if your spouse chooses to divorce – obtain sound legal advice at once. The right divorce lawyer will explain your options and protect your legal rights at every stage of a South Florida divorce.

After Fifty, Retirement Funds Are a Priority

How can you prepare for divorce after fifty? What happens to the real estate, vehicles, savings, and retirement funds? Who can protect what is rightfully yours in a divorce, and how? Keep reading, and these questions will be answered in this brief discussion of divorce after fifty.

When younger couples decide to obtain a divorce, they have plenty of years to establish their careers and to invest and save for retirement, but that is not the case for couples who divorce after fifty. Retirement isn’t far away, so protecting your retirement funds must be a priority.

1-4 What Should You Know About Dividing Assets in a Later-in-Life Divorce?

If you are over fifty, and if you’re divorcing or anticipating a divorce in South Florida, have a South Florida divorce lawyer advise you, represent you, and protect your finances. But even before you meet a lawyer or file divorce papers, you can begin to protect your retirement funds.

How Do You Prepare for Divorce After Fifty?

Here are some tips that can help you prepare for a divorce. In two columns, list your assets. Put marital assets in Column A and personal assets in Column B. Inheritances are usually considered personal property, but each situation is unique. If you acquired an inheritance while you were married, tell your divorce attorney.

You also need to list your past and current employers and your spouse’s. Contact the employers to learn if you’re entitled to a pension or anything else you may not know about. It’s not unusual to forget – or to never be told – about benefits or pay left behind with a former employer.

If you did not work in the course of your marriage, but instead you raised the children and supported your partner’s career, your Boca Raton divorce attorney and the judge in your case should know the details of your contribution to the marriage.

How Does the Division of Marital Assets Work?

In Florida, unless the divorcing spouses have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that states otherwise, marital property includes all of the properties, assets, and debts that either spouse has acquired in the course of the marriage.

For instance, if one spouse obtains a credit card and the other spouse’s name isn’t on the account, the other spouse is still jointly liable for the credit card debt, even if one spouse did the spending. But if one partner recklessly piled up debt, a judge might assign that debt to the spending spouse.

2-4 What Should You Know About Dividing Assets in a Later-in-Life Divorce?

In most situations, Florida is an equitable distribution state. When spouses divorce in this state, marital assets, properties, and debts are usually divided fifty-fifty. Each spouse is entitled to half of the real estate, the vehicles, the family business, and anything else that is marital property.

What Can Complicate the Division of Marital Assets?

After a lengthy marriage, the largest amount of assets to be divided may be a couple’s retirement benefits and funds. Like the other assets, pensions and retirement accounts are split fifty-fifty, but only funds acquired in the course of the marriage are divisible and considered marital assets.

The courts realize that it may be impractical, at least temporarily, to divide some of your assets. For instance, if your home is your only major marital asset, a judge might order you to wait on selling it and award you or your spouse the temporary right to live there.

Naturally, the more assets and property you have, the more complicated the process of dividing those assets becomes. You need to be represented by a Palm Beach County divorce attorney who has substantial experience resolving the most difficult and complicated divorce disputes.

What Else Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

The financial aspects of your divorce must be handled carefully if you are nearing retirement age. That means your divorce must be handled by a Florida divorce lawyer who has substantial experience representing older clients and protecting retirement funds.

3 What Should You Know About Dividing Assets in a Later-in-Life Divorce?

These tips may also help:

1. Stand up for your own interests. Your plans and finances for the future are your business alone, so don’t give in to intimidation or pressure from your ex or even your children.

2. If your retirement savings are split in half, some of your goals for retirement may be unattainable. Plan a way to afford what’s important to you.

3. You may qualify for Social Security payments on the basis of your ex-spouse’s employment. Find out.

4. Couples over fifty should at least consider a legal separation in lieu of divorce. Legal separation is less costly than divorce and achieves many of the same results. Also, legal separation is almost always less contentious and less stressful than divorce.

Compromise If You Can

Divorcing spouses don’t have to leave their fate in a judge’s hands. If you can, settle your divorce privately and out-of-court, on your own or with a divorce lawyer’s help. Florida courts usually accept such agreements so long as each spouse has been allowed to consult an attorney.

A private settlement puts the spouses rather than the court in control of the final divorce arrangements. But whether you settle your divorce privately or require a divorce trial, you will need the insights, advice, and representation that a Boca Raton divorce lawyer offers.

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