How is divorce different for individuals age 50 and older?

At any age, going through a divorce can be difficult. For younger couples, matters related to child custody, a family home and shared assets and debts are typically chief concerns. For older divorcees, concerns tend to be focused on assets held in retirement and investment accounts and not only how to divide these assets, but also ensure they can be accessed when needed.

National statistics show that, between 1990 and 2013, the divorce rate among couples age 50 and older nearly doubled. For individuals who are nearing or in retirement, it's important to take steps during the divorce process to ensure for one's current and future financial security. Failure to do so may result in an individual being forced to work long past a planned retirement age or running out of money during retirement.

A professor at Bowling Green State University is researching the so-called gray divorce phenomena and the resulting larger possible resulting socioeconomic effects. For example, statistics show that approximately four percent of U.S. married couples age 62 and older live at or below the poverty line. However, this percentage increases significantly when examining divorced and single women and men age 62 and older, with an estimated 30 percent of women and 14 percent of men living "at or below the federal poverty line."

Maryland residents who are age 50 and older who are separated from a spouse and planning to divorce would be wise to contact a divorce attorney who handles gray divorces. An attorney will work to discover all assets and possible sources of income including retirement accounts, investments, pensions, property, beneficiary designations and Social Security; and help devise a strategy on how to fund one's retirement years.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "How divorce after 50 may affect your retirement savings," Janet Kidd Stewart, Feb. 2, 2015