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Finances and divorce after the age of 50

Virginia couples older than age 50 may be more likely to get a divorce than in previous decades. Research shows that over the past 25 years, the divorce rate has doubled for this age group. This can present financial concerns for people who are nearing retirement, but there are things they can do to reduce the likelihood that this will cause problems.

Changing names on beneficiary designations and titles is important. If one person is supposed to pay alimony to the other, there should be a plan in case that person becomes disabled, suffers a loss of income or dies. The couple should discuss a life insurance policy in case of the payer's death. Another option could be for one person to accept a lump sum in lieu of monthly alimony payments. If a spouse earned significantly less than the other, that spouse might also be able to draw benefits based on the other spouse's Social Security earnings. The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years for this to be the case.

Before meeting with an attorney, a person should make a list of all the jobs either spouse has held and all their assets. Listing past employment can help people remember assets they might have forgotten about such as pensions and stock options. Listing their assets helps individuals begin thinking about property division.

In a high net worth divorce, property division could be particularly complex. The couple might own out-of-state or overseas real estate and have interests in one or more businesses. They might own an art collection or another type of collection. Valuation, including assessing the value of business and collectibles, may vary widely and cause a delay. However, if couples can work together toward a solution, they may be more satisfied with it than with a judge's decision.

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