Financial issues that can go boom in divorce for Boomers

As regular readers of our Peoria family law blog know, we have written more than once about the rising divorce rate among Baby Boomers. The Baby Boom was this nation’s largest generation, and as it enters retirement age, more and more of its graying members are seeking divorces.

In so-called gray divorces, there are three items most commonly contested: spousal support (83 percent), retirement savings and pensions (62 percent) and business interests (60 percent). People over 50 who are pondering divorce need to be keenly aware of the high stakes involved in those items and the complexity of property division disputes, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said.

The group’s president, John Slowiaczek, said in an interview that sometimes long-married Boomers don’t grasp how financially convenient their relationships have been. Divorce means dividing assets such as retirement savings in two, and restarting lives with two households instead of one.

Spousal support (also known as alimony) can also have an impact on the distribution of property, Slowiaczek said. For example, if Spouse A realizes he will pay Spouse B substantial spousal support for years to come, he might also realize that the support will delay his retirement. He might then sit down with his family law attorney and decide that it makes more sense for him to give up more assets in divorce so that long-term spousal support can be avoided.

Slowiaczek also urges Boomers with businesses to work with their family law attorneys on buy-sell agreements that can smooth or eliminate business disputes in divorce.

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