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Property division in a gray divorce

In California and across the country, the number of American adults over the age of 50 who decide to divorce is on the rise. Since the 1990s, the divorce rate for people in this demographic category has doubled while the rate has remained flat or even declined for couples in other age groups. While a larger number of people are over 50, the increased rate means that a greater percentage of them are choosing to end their marriages. These so-called "gray divorces" may look quite different from splits between younger couples as issues like child custody and support are rarely in play. However, some complex financial issues may require particular attention when older adults decide to divorce.

Some of the largest assets a couple possesses are often their retirement funds and other types of accounts. While the division of these funds can be complex among people of any age, it is particularly critical for individuals who are close to retirement age to get it right. When high earning couples over 50 divorce, they may have more complex financial situations that involve multiple investment accounts, properties and pension funds.

It is also critical that assets like retirement funds are handled properly. When dividing pensions, 401(k)s and other funds, couples need to secure a qualified domestic relations order to avoid unnecessary and costly tax burdens and related fees. IRAs can be divided without a QDRO as long as the divorce decree lays out the proper division of the funds.

When people decide to divorce after 50, they may have a number of unique financial concerns. A family law attorney can work with people who decide to divorce at any age and represent them during the entire process. A lawyer can strive to achieve a just settlement in terms of property division and spousal support.

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