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Study: Is it more expensive to divorce in middle age?

Article after article is bringing attention to the fact that divorce amongst those over the age of 50 is on the rise. The trend has even got its own catch phrase: “gray divorce.” Research shows the divorce rate within this age group has doubled throughout the country in the last thirty years. Now researchers are asking another question: is it more expensive?

The answer, as is true with many things in the legal world, is a resounding maybe. Although there are some commonalities that will hold true with most divorces, the answer will depend on the individual divorce. The truth is in the details and the details will vary with each individual divorce. However, the following provides a breakdown of the factors to take into consideration when answering how this question would apply in a specific situation:

#1: Assets.

As we get older, we accumulate more assets. Divorce involves a splitting of these assets, which occurs during the property division determination portion of the divorce proceeding. This portion can get difficult, particularly if complex assets are involved. As we accumulate more assets, the odds of complex assets playing a role in divorce increases.

These can include assets like offshore accounts, business interests and investments.

#2: Retirement.

This piggy backs off #1. This particular asset gets its own mention because it grows in importance as we near retirement age. We work hard during our younger years to save for retirement with plans for using those funds as soon as we reach retirement age. As such, it is important to take great care when splitting these assets. Special rules apply, and a failure to abide by these rules can result in a loss of the asset or steep financial penalties.

These two factors will impact the cost of divorce and tend to increase as we age. In this aspect, the cost of divorce can increase as we age.