Older couple’s divorce brings special concerns

Divorce among older couples in St. Louis,  throughout Missouri and across the nation has increased noticeably during the last two decades. The change is being led by the baby boom generation and is likely being caused by numerous factors. Women are better educated, often have had careers and their own income.

They may be unwilling to settle for a relationship that has grown stale or withered over the years. For many, 30 years of marriage have made them different people and they may find they now have little in common. They may view their marriage dissolution as simply the next phase of their lives.

But a divorce at 60 brings different concerns than one at 30. Child custody and support issues are likely nonexistent. Property division, however, is of great importance, as you no longer have 30 years of earning capacity to make up for assets divided during a divorce.

Retirement accounts and pensions take on a special importance. A pension from employers, 401ks, IRAs and any other investment accounts need to be carefully analyzed before they are divided, including the tax effect on each party to ensure that their division is truly equitable.

For instance, a 401k and a Roth IRA of the same amount are not equivalent, as the Roth consists of after-tax dollars and is distributed tax-free, while the 401k is made up of before-tax dollars and will carry a tax liability when funds are withdrawn.

While assets like the family home may contain a lifetime of memories, it may also come with a lifetime of accumulated maintenance needs. If you take it as part of your property distribution, you need to be certain you can afford a new furnace, roof, painting, siding or all of the other maintenance and repair issues that come with a home.

All of these should be worked out while examining your marital assets, so you can move on and fully enjoy your retirement after a divorce.

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