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Divorce at an older age often comes with both risk and reward

There is a tendency among most people to assume that divorce is somehow limited to those couples between the ages of 20 to 49. This can probably be attributed to a mindset that when a couple has been married for several decades, they are less likely -- and therefore less willing -- to divorce. As it turns out, however, this couldn't be more untrue.

Consider a 2013 study performed by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, which determined that the divorce rate for couples age 50 and over has actually increased twofold from 1990 to 2010.

While divorce can prove to be both an exhilarating yet frightening prospect for most people, it is often even more so for those who are leaving marriages that are not years, but rather decades old.

That's because they will have to adjust to an entirely new way of life and ensure that they have set themselves up for success financially.

According to experts, this step includes not only making wise decisions during the property division process -- home v. retirement benefits, cash v. pension proceeds, etc. -- but also examining the financial landscape and setting the appropriate goals.

"The main thing is redefining what you want, five to 10 years out," said one financial professional. "Then it's taking a step back and seeing where things lie from a retirement standpoint."

Some basic ideas that experts say newly divorced older spouses should keep in mind include:

  • Keeping the focus on your new life and your new needs, meaning you should avoid hanging onto major assets (home, cars, etc.) which have sentimental value and the ability to pull you under financially
  • Remembering that your financial needs have now changed considerably and that you may need to revisit matters long forgotten, such as life insurance, health insurance and long-term care to name only a few
  • Revisiting your finances periodically to ensure that you are reaching your goals and making any changes

If you would like to learn more about divorce, complex property division or other family law issues here in Texas, consider speaking with a dedicated and determined legal professional.

Source: Forbes, "Saving your retirement from a divorce," Greg Brown, Oct. 21, 2013

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