We have talked in the past about the increasing numbers of people over 50 who are deciding it is the right time for a divorce. At this point most couples find that their children have begun their own lives and they are now able to focus on what is best for themselves as individuals. This may mean coming to the realization that the time to open the door on a new life is now.
The concerns facing divorcing couples later in life may be significantly different than those facing a younger couple. While child custody may no longer be a concern, the importance of estate and retirement planning is more likely to be front and center.
Retirement planning should be of at least some concern for any person going through a divorce. For those who are near to retirement age or intend to begin utilizing their retirement savings soon, it is likely one of their foremost priorities. As a starting point many people will need to re-evaluate their expectations for retirement. In many cases, even if retirement assets are split evenly, each spouse as an individual may not have the same level of discretionary assets as they would have as part of a couple.
There are also opportunities that may present themselves when couples divorce near retirement age. Couples at this point are much more likely to have significant equity in their homes. For those who would consider relocation, perhaps to somewhere with more hospitable winters than Minnesota (this winter being a welcome exception), a divorce and sale of the marital home may provide the liquidity to make this sort of move.
Source: Reuters News, "As more couples split, advisers face minefields," Jessica Toonkel, Mar. 12, 2012