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Is a gray divorce more or less complicated?

Gray divorce typically refers to the divorce of those who are 50 years old and above. The statistics show that this has been increasing in the United States, despite the decline in the overall divorce rate.

In some senses, divorce at a younger age can be more complicated, but that's really only true when there are children involved and custody matters must be addressed. In most other instances, the truth is that gray divorce is far more complex. Below are a few reasons why.

The couple owns more assets

A couple in their late 20s, getting divorced after just a few years of marriage, may own almost nothing. They could still be renting an apartment and driving leased cars. Their own parents are likely still alive, so there are no questions about inheritance. If they have no children, the biggest question is just how to divide their bank account.

An older couple may own a home, multiple cars, vacation homes, boats and many other valuable assets. They may also have investments and advanced financial portfolios. The bank account is the least of their worries. This means that sorting out the details takes much more work.

Retirement is drawing near

Retirement can add complications to a gray divorce. People worry that they're going to lose money in the divorce and not be able to retire on schedule. Many couples plan their retirement jointly and need to adjust if they split up. There is also the question of pension plans and employee-sponsored retirement plans, which may need to get divided through the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Couples do not want to make any mistakes -- or allow for any oversights -- because they know that retirement is so close that there is little recovery time. They have to focus on their future and get it right.

Understanding your options

If you're going to get divorced at 50 or above, be sure you understand the legal options you have. You cannot overstate the impact of a divorce and you must know that it's being handled correctly.

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