Few people plan on divorcing near or after retirement. Yet so-called “grey divorces” are on the rise. Spouses sometimes grow apart as they grow older. Or one may discover an infidelity on the other’s part. These, and other reasons, have led to one in four divorces occurring between couples over the age of 50.
Since grey divorce happens close to – or during – retirement, you may worry about how it will impact your financial health. By following these tips, you can survive one without putting your assets at risk.
Florida is an equitable property state
Florida follows the equitable distribution theory of asset division. This method splits up any joint assets you and spouse have in a fair – though not equal – manner. The allocation of your assets revolves around many factors, including:
- Your marriage’s length
- Your prospects for financial independence
- Your age and health
- Your individual property
You might feel the equitable distribution method could put you at a disadvantage as you age. If so, working with a family law professional can help you devise solutions to any obstacles it may cause you.
Retirement accounts can prove tricky to split
Some retirement accounts – like 401(k) plans – are workplace sponsored and held in a single name. Yet these accounts can qualify as marital property, or at least the assets placed in them during your marriage do. If you and your spouse split either of your 401(k) plans, you will have to file a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This order decrees a spouse’s right to receive part or all the assets in the account owner’s plan.
Yet other retirement accounts – like IRAs – do not require a QDRO for division. You and your spouse will determine the allocation of the assets in these accounts. If you cannot work together to do so, meeting with a mediator can help you reach a fair, unbiased agreement.
Some benefits are not divisible
Your spouse might earn more than you do. In this case, they may qualify for greater Social Security benefits than you will. You may think you deserve a share, but Social Security benefits are not divisible in divorce. They can factor into any alimony you might receive, though, because these benefits count as part of your spouse’s income.
Asset division poses a unique challenge to grey divorcees. As one, you may fear that you won’t have enough to live on during retirement. But understanding the process and knowing what you’re entitled to can help you find security after your marriage ends.