By Robin Roshkind, Esquire
With the general population aging and graying due to the baby boomer generation, statistics show that what we divorce lawyers call “gray divorce” is on the rise among those of us who are 50 and older. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, one in four divorces in 2009 were gray divorces. By way of comparison, this is double what it was in 1990, just ten years earlier.
The stakes in gray divorces are drastically greater due to the natural life cycles of those in this category. Generally, at this age, there are many more assets and debts to divide between the husband and the wife. There are adult children to deal with. There are estate planning issues both before and following a gray divorce. There might be health issues of one or the other spouse warranting unequal distribution of assets or greater alimony support. There are retirement accounts and tax ramifications. Liquidity versus hard assets such as real estate may become an issue.
On the estate planning side, changing of personal representatives, beneficiaries, health care surrogates, powers of attorney, and living wills are necessary. If the marriage was a traditional one, with the husband being the major breadwinner for the length of the marriage, the wife will need to educate herself as to the family finances, and learn to manage money and her life living on her own. This can be devastating at first.
For gray divorce couples, the best advice is to seek solid professional help, from divorce lawyers, shrinks, and accountants. For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.