Study indicates older adults more likely to divorce than in past years

Researchers have discovered that the rate of divorce for older adults is climbing. This could put financial strain on those nearing retirement age.

Many couples in New York may expect to know within a few years whether they are compatible and can stay together forever, as they promised in their wedding vows. However, researchers at Bowling Green University have discovered that one out of every four people who are divorced is over the age of 50. Essentially, the divorce rate for that age group has doubled in the past 20 years, and experts believe it may continue to rise because of the size of the Baby Boomer generation.

The study did not provide concrete reasons for the growing number of long-term marriages coming to an end. Regardless of the causes, though, the financial effects for those who are newly divorced as they near retirement age and find themselves dividing their marital assets can be significant.

Retirement

Dividing retirement and insurance accounts is typically part of any divorce process. But, as AARP points out, those factors may not hit home quite as hard to those who still have plenty of years left in the workforce. For those nearing the age of 65, equitable distribution of these benefits may be a factor that could lead to financial trauma. A retirement income that might support a couple may not provide two separate homes nearly as well. To compensate, people may find themselves working longer to try to recuperate from the new demands of retirement.

An attorney might suggest that a couple sell the marital home so they can each use their half to make new living arrangements that are more suitable to the new standard of living. As an alternative to choosing a less desirable home, some may choose to move in with an adult child, or find a roommate to share in the costs of housing.

Social Security

Social Security benefits may ease the anxiety for those whose work records do not provide sufficient funds, according to the Social Security Administration. If they were married 10 years or more and have not remarried, they may still benefit from a former spouse's work record, even years after the divorce.

The benefits would not come out of the amount the former spouse is eligible to receive. Rather, it is the same amount that the partner with fewer benefits would have been received if the couple were still married.

It is essential to factor in all sources of income before coming to an agreement on the division of property, and an experienced family law attorney may be able to identify all potential issues before any agreement is signed.