February 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Divorce after 50 brings unique challenges
Article provided by Law Firm of Susan K. Candiello
Visit us at http://www.candiellolaw.com
The divorce rate among couples over 50 has been moving steadily upward in recent years, drawing attention to specific issues faced by those who divorce later in life.
While divorce at any age can be a struggle, the financial stakes often become higher as couples near retirement age. Not only have older couples had more time to acquire assets and property, which must be divided upon divorce, but they also typically have fewer working years ahead of them in which to recoup any losses they may incur during the divorce. Therefore, for anyone considering divorceafter 50 should take extra care to ensure that their long-term financial wellbeing is protected.
While child custody tends to be a major focal point for younger couples during divorce, older couples are more likely to focus heavily on the division of retirement assets. Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, pension plans and IRAs are typically treated as shared marital property regardless of which spouse is the primary account holder, meaning that they are subject to division during the divorce process.
Pennsylvania divorce law uses a system of "equitable distribution" for the division of marital assets, which means that marital property is not always divided equally between divorcing spouses. Instead, property is divided according to what a judge believes to be equitable, or fair. During divorce, people often make the mistake of assuming that the settlement will protect their share of an ex-spouse's retirement assets. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Particularly if one partner was the primary breadwinner during a marriage, unwary spouses may end up without sufficient funds to support themselves in old age.
Just as married spouses often depend on one another for retirement planning, it is also common for both spouses to be insured on the same policy. After divorce, however, each spouse must provide for his or her own insurance, which can be a major expense -- particularly as a person grows older.
When negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, it is important to plan carefully for the cost of purchasing health insurance after divorce, as well as other protections such as life insurance, property insurance, disability and long-term care. In addition, those who receive ongoing financial support from an ex-spouse after divorce should consider how their financial situation would be affected if the ex-spouse passed away. In these situations, it may be wise to purchase an insurance policy that protects against the death of the ex-spouse. Others may prefer to negotiate a lump-sum settlement in lieu of ongoing spousal support.
Estate plans and beneficiaries
After divorce, spouses should update their wills to reflect the changes that have occurred, along with other estate planning documents such as advance health care directives and powers of attorney. It is also important to review the beneficiary designations on retirement plans, insurance policies and other documents to ensure that they are accurate and up to date.
Pennsylvania residents considering divorce are encouraged to seek advice from a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can help them assess their options and negotiate on their behalf to protect their long-term financial well-being.---
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