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Divorce after 50: 3 overlooked elements of property division

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2020 | Divorce

We know older Americans are divorcing at a higher rate than ever before. While divorce is never simple, the older you are, the more complex the process will likely be. You’ve had decades to earn money, accrue assets and build a list of accomplishments – sorting through all of that can take time.

Even if you go into a separation fully aware of this reality, the inherent complexity means it is easy to miss some things. With that in mind, here are three overlooked aspects of property division that those over 50 should keep in mind.

Consider your income stream

One of the hardest aspects of a divorce is the division of property. For couples with a higher net worth and valuable assets, this can mean negotiating ownership of items such as a vacation home, luxury car or prized possession.

As valuable as these items may be, they do not help pay the bills. In fact, they often come with regular expenses that can eat into whatever income you do earn. While keeping the house may be a win for stability, it could come with a long-term cost.

Think about retirement

Retirement accounts are often among the most valuable assets a person owns. In most divorces, their value will be considered during property division. Similar to the point above, foregoing some of these benefits in favor of a high-value item comes with pros and cons.

The same applies to Social Security benefits. If one spouse left their career in order to raise children, it’s possible they did not earn enough working credits to receive benefits on their own. Instead, they may be left with half of whatever their former spouse is set to earn – and that’s generally only for marriages that lasted at least a decade.

Health insurance costs

It’s common for one spouse to get health insurance coverage through their partner’s employer-sponsored plan. After a separation, that can no longer happen. The spouse that had been relying on their former partner’s insurance can abruptly have a significant expense to account for, potentially hundreds of dollars a month for a worse plan.

Any budgeting should take this possibility into account.