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Divorce Later in Life Can Be Complicated

Those who have gone through a divorce are aware of how complicated it can sometimes be. However, doing so late in life can be even more complex in nature. The end of a marriage can become quite emotional when it is time to discuss alimony or community property division, and the latter aspect can be especially significant if the couple has accumulated much together during their marriage and assets are even more intertwined.

The complex realities of a late life divorce can be difficult to navigate. Estate planning documents have to be reviewed, and in some cases an estranged spouse who was an executor or a trustee must be replaced. Joint debts can present more challenges, as creditors are not bound by settlement agreements.

Social Security benefits may be an issue, as if the couple has been married at least 10 years before they split, the lower-earning former spouse could be eligible to claim benefits based upon the earnings record of the other party. The division of retirement plans can be intricate, with a qualified domestic relations order being necessary in some cases and income tax consequences to take into account with respect to premature distributions as well.

A divorce late in life does not always have to be contentious, even though there may be a lot at stake. The division of marital property can often be addressed in a settlement agreement that is negotiated with the assistance of the couple’s respective family law attorneys. Although child custody and visitation is unlikely to be an issue, the settlement agreement can cover other pertinent legal issues such as alimony.