Michael G. Putter Attorney at Law
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How do you handle divorce when you're older?

No matter what age you are when you get divorced, it can come as a huge emotional blow. However, when you're older, you have less time to bounce back financially before your retirement.

To make sure that you're able to stay on financially-even ground, make sure that you do the following things:

1. List your assets.

This is important no matter what age you are. Having an accurate list of your assets when you meet your attorney can save you time (and money) down the line. Note where the money came from for each asset you list -- income (wages), inheritance or gift. This will make dividing up what you have much easier.

2. Look into previous employment.

Are you absolutely certain that you know all of the retirement income your spouse will be entitled to receive? What about for yourself? Many people overlook small retirement funds they paid into 20 or 30 years ago. Check every employer either of you have had for eligibility to retirement funds or stocks.

3. Bring your life insurance policies.

Take copies of your life insurance policies with you to your divorce attorney. You can ask to be made both the owner and the beneficiary of a policy on your spouse to cover the period during which you'll be entitled to any spousal support in case your ex dies before that's over.

4. Check with the Social Security Administration.

Part of your divorce pre-planning stage should include a trip to the Social Security office. Find out if you have eligibility to a benefit on your spouse's record. If you've been married at least 10 years at the time of your divorce, you're likely entitled unless you remarry (assuming your spouse had the higher income during his or her life). Collecting on your ex-spouse's record will not affect your ex-spouse's benefit at all -- he or she won't even be told.

5. Make sure that you get the right language in your divorce.

You need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide pensions properly. If you neglect to get this in a timely manner, you'll face penalties and other unnecessary hurdles.

It's important to remember that divorce at any age is largely a financial transaction. If you focus on your current and future financial needs and the division of your assets, you'll get through the situation just fine.

Source: MarketWatch, "7 ways to manage financial pitfalls during a late-in-life divorce," Melody Juge, Feb. 09, 2018

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