3 financial issues that can dominate gray divorces

3 financial issues that can dominate gray divorces

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Financial disagreements are often an issue in divorces. The more property a couple shares and the longer they stayed married, the harder handling those financial issues can become.

Gray divorces involve those near retirement age or those who have remained married for many years deciding to go their separate ways. People divorcing later in life and after decades of marriage will have specific financial issues, including the three below, that will likely dominate their divorce proceedings or settlement negotiations.

How to handle Social Security retirement benefits

Many middle-class and working-class couples integrate Social Security benefits into their long-term retirement plans. However, when one spouse works longer or earns more than the other, there can be a big difference in what Social Security benefits they have available.

Understanding what happens with Social Security benefits after a divorce can help you reach a more reasonable settlement. Dependent or lower-earnings spouses can often claim a portion of what their ex accrued, usually without impacting what the spouse who earned the benefits receives.

How to split retirement accounts or pensions

You may have each worked during the marriage, or one of you might have stayed home to take care of your kids or family. You might have your own retirement accounts and pensions, or one spouse could depend entirely on the resources earned and set aside by the other.

The bigger the gap between what each of you earned and your individual retirement savings, the more important it may become to review pension and retirement benefits carefully to ensure received enough for a secure retirement.

Whether a dependent spouse needs or alimony

Sometimes, it is easier for a dependent spouse to ask for alimony or spousal maintenance in a divorce rather than trying to split a pension, which may not have a fixed financial value. Spouses who did not work full-time and who supported the family through unpaid labor in the home could qualify to receive alimony after a lengthy marriage.

Identifying the financial issues that matter the most to you in your upcoming divorce will make it easier for you to set priorities that you can achieve in court or during settlement negotiations.