Throughout Ohio and the rest of America, divorce among older couples has been on a consistent rise. Dubbed "gray divorce," marital splits between Americans over 50 have grown 20 percent since the 1990s. This trend is continuing upward even as divorce rates remain flat or decline among other demographic groups. The financial repercussions of a later-in-life divorce can be significant, especially when it comes to retirement savings and property division.
Many older couples who have been together over the years have accumulated substantial funds and investments. Therefore, the end of such a marriage can be a high-asset divorce that requires elaborate accounting. Even for less wealthy couples, retirement funds can be large and spread across multiple accounts. In addition, the division of retirement funds is more complex than simply coming to an agreement between the divorcing spouses. Even when both parties are amicable and have agreed on how to divide the funds, failure to follow proper procedures could lead to a massive tax bill or other penalties and fines.
In order to divide a 401(k) or pension plan, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is necessary. This court order can ensure that the division is tax-free and avoids costly penalties.
The financial aspects of divorce can be quite complicated at any age. However, it may be especially difficult for couples at or near retirement age. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to protect key assets and strive to achieve a just settlement in terms of property division and other major issues.