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Women in gray divorces should be part of financial discussions

Spokane residents who have contemplated divorce understand the potential emotional and financial ramifications of the decision. Recently, a growing trend has developed in the United States with more and more "gray" couples (those over 50) seeking a divorce. While divorce is painful no matter the age or when it happens during a person's life, there are special considerations for couples who are older, specifically asset division, distributions of 401Ks and retirement funds.

Financial experts recently have asserted the importance of financial planning for women in marriages. Older women who are involved in the financial planning throughout their marriage are more prepared to deal with financial challenges if a divorce occurs. Statistics show that in the past 20 years the divorce rate for this age group has doubled. Many times, women must wade through unexpected debts after a divorce, including tax liens and property loans.

Gray divorce can be particularly challenging for each of the spouses who have come to expect a certain way of life. Usually, a divorce will result in both spouses assuming a new household and twice the expenses compared to during the marriage when the spouses shared a home. While there may be asset considerations including retirement and 401k division, gray divorces typically are not weighed down by issues like child support because any children are usually already grown.

Gray divorce can present unique emotional and financial considerations that are very different from those faced by younger couples seeking a divorce. For some couples, one spouse may have been in charge of the finances and the other in charge of the household. When a divorce takes place, the spouse who has not been taking care of finances may feel suddenly thrown in the deep end trying to make ends meet.

For anyone considering a gray divorce, speaking with an attorney may help to clarify what a post-divorce lifestyle may look like. An attorney can evaluate what assets the divorcing spouses will likely divide, as well as what special considerations such as 401ks and retirement funds will need to be discussed.

Source: Financial Advisor, "Women Need Advisors' Guidance Before Divorce Strikes, Expert Says," Sept. 16, 2013

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