Tips for late life divorce

Those going through a divorce later in life can ease the transition with these tips.

Media outlets throughout the country have highlighted a surprising trend: baby boomers are getting divorced at a higher rate than ever before. This trend was supported by a recent study out of Bowling Green State University. The study, conducted by professors with the University's Department of Sociology and the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, found that the divorce rate for adults at or over the age of 50 had doubled between the years of 1990 and 2010.

A recent article in the Washington Post points out an interesting finding within this study - a large number of the divorces were first time marriages that lasted 20 or more years. Generally, divorces are more common amongst second or third marriages. In addition to the unpredicted number of first time marriages coming to an end through divorce, the researchers were also surprised by the reason for the split. In many cases the couples report that they simply grew apart. One researcher with the study told the Post that marital quality had not declined; instead the couples had "higher expectations" for what constituted "a successful marriage."

Reasons for the increase in later life divorce

These expectations combined with increased financial independence available to women and increased life span is speculated to have fueled the uptick in later life divorce. Couples are gearing up for retirement only to realize that they do not get along with their spouse. Instead of spending the next twenty plus years attempting to make the best of a failing marriage, more and more boomers are choosing to divorce and embark on the journey through retirement single.

Tips for boomers to have a smooth transition into post-divorce single life

Boomers that find themselves' going through a divorce can increase the chances of a smooth transition into single life with a proactive approach. Two primary areas that deserve particular attention include:

  • Finances. Take the time to develop a budget and review both assets and debts. While going through the divorce proceeding, pay special attention to retirement assets. Those going through a divorce later in life need to be aware of the fact that there is less time to recoup financial losses. This can be particularly difficult when it comes to funds for retirement.
  • Paperwork. When it comes to splitting retirement assets, it is important to make sure that the right paperwork is in order. For many retirement plans, this means a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, must be completed. This legal order provides for payments from the account to be made to someone other than the account holder, such as an ex-spouse.

The QDRO is just one issue that can arise during a divorce proceeding. As a result, those going through a divorce should seek the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney. This legal professional can guide you through the process and work to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: divorce