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Divorce rate for senior couples is increasing

A sad fact of life for many older California couples is that the longer they’ve been married, the more expensive the divorce might be. There are more assets for them to divide and less time to recoup financially before retirement.

According to statistics, the divorce rate is declining for all age groups except for people 50 years old or older. Some researchers suspect the divorce rate in this rate is growing because of the empty nest syndrome; after children leave home, couples may discover they no longer have anything in common and may decide to split. They then need to do what they can to protect their finances.

An amicable divorce can cost between $25,000 and $50,000, a sum that could eat up a sizable chunk of a person’s nest egg. If one spouse doesn’t want the divorce, costs can skyrocket. Since older couples generally have more assets than their younger counterparts, property division can be costly. By age 50, people have usually reached their earning potential peak, so replacing financial assets in the years before retirement may be difficult. And while older couples may not wrangle over child custody, they often fight over retirement accounts. This also has tax implications under certain circumstances.

While they can be difficult regardless of age, divorces can be more complicated for senior couples. Each party may want to consult a separate family law attorney for assistance. In some cases, the attorneys can take the lead in negotiating a property division settlement agreement which can then be submitted to the court for its approval.