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IL divorce lawyerMany people have looked at sweet, elderly couples and romanticized their decades-long marriages, lamenting a social era that is often said to no longer exist. If you were to ask someone if they thought the divorce rate was increasing or decreasing in the United States, what do you think they would say? Many people would likely say the divorce rate has been increasing for years when in reality, it is the opposite. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the national divorce rate has decreased from a rate of four out of every 1,000 couples in 2000 to only 2.9 out of every 1,000 couples in 2018. Interestingly enough, when you look at the divorce rates for the different age groups, the groups whose divorce rates are growing the quickest are adults over the age of 50. In fact, the Pew Research Center reported that the divorce rate doubled for adults over the age of 50 and roughly tripled for adults over the age of 65 between 1990 and 2015.

When it comes down to it, divorce is an emotionally stressful process and will be difficult at any age. However, when you get a divorce later in life, there are certain issues that you should pay extra attention to that a younger person may not necessarily have as high on their list of priorities, such as retirement accounts and spousal support. Getting a divorce after the age of 50 also often means there are more property and/or debt issues that must be taken care of before the divorce can be settled. In many cases, a late-in-life divorce, or a “gray divorce,” as they have been dubbed, can become a headache of a legal mess that is best cleaned up by an Illinois divorce attorney who is knowledgeable in the issues that may present in a gray divorce.

Why Are Gray Divorces Becoming More Common?

There have been many theories as to why gray divorces have been increasing in rate in recent years. Many individuals who get divorced when they are over the age of 50 have been married for decades and in some cases, more than half of their lives. It can be hard for some people to grasp why a person would want to leave a relationship after so many years, but researchers have found a couple of common themes:

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings about all kinds of issues that you must deal with, both emotionally and financially. Though the emotional side can be difficult to manage, the financial side has a lot of bearing on how your life will turn out in the future. Financial issues can be especially important for older couples who are nearing the age of retirement. Retirement accounts are assets that are usually quite valuable to both spouses, setting the stage for disagreements over how the assets will be divided. Ignoring or forgetting your retirement accounts during your divorce could spell disaster for your financial future. If you are getting a divorce, be sure to take these necessary precautions to help protect your retirement plans.

Understand What You Are Working With

Before you make any decisions, you should fully understand what type of retirement accounts you and your spouse have and the rules that govern each account. Common retirement accounts include employer-sponsored plans such as a 401(k) and individual retirement accounts such as an IRA. Each type of plan has its own rules, especially when it comes to dividing and distributing the funds.

Speaking with a financial adviser can help you figure out how you should divide your plans and how you can do so while avoiding any penalties or tax repercussions. A financial adviser will also be able to help you make sure you understand your financial portfolio so you can make informed decisions.

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