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Retirement and getting a divorce later in life

More often than in decades past, older couples are deciding that even after decades of marriage, it is time to go their separate ways. Often, there are no children at home, and the major issues facing these couples as they divorce are financial ones. For example, retirement is often put on hold or interrupted when older couples here in New Jersey and elsewhere divorce.

The older the parties are when they divorce, the less time they have to rebuild retirement accounts. In fact, many of them end up going back into the workforce because they are not able to support themselves any other way. A retirement account that was supposed to carry the couple through their golden years is more than likely divided, and each party does not have enough to live on alone.

All of the basic costs of living, such as rent or mortgage payments, grocery bills, and other household expenses, will increase for each party. The same income that was supporting one set of household bills now has to support two, but it often falls short. Even Social Security benefits are often cut in half. The problem then becomes determining how to best divide the assets in order to give each party the chance to be financially secure.

New Jersey couples do not have to rely on the courts to make these decisions for them. Couples are encouraged to negotiate their own divorce settlements that are tailored to their needs. They can often be more creative than the restrictions placed on the court allow, which means that they can think outside the box. This could result in an agreement that leaves both parties feeling satisfied that they can move into the future securely.

Source: Bloomberg, "Divorce Is Destroying Retirement", Ben Steverman, Oct. 17, 2016

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