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Divorce and property division: the financial impact

Statistics indicate that divorce rates for Americans age 50 and up have increased dramatically and continue to do so, bringing to light some of the sensitive financial issues that accompany a gray divorce. While it is no surprise to Ohio readers to learn that divorce will likely have an impact on finances, they may be surprised to know that divorce is particularly unfavorable to older women. Property division, including division of retirement assets, can be a complicated and stressful process for those nearing retirement age.

Divorce always has a financial impact, but it can be disproportionately bigger for people in the baby boomer generation. Later divorces are not favorable for people close to retirement, and it is particularly important for them to take steps to protect their financial interests at this time. For this reason, statistics have found that many retirement-age women are re-entering the workforce in order to offset the financial impact of their divorces.

The financial price of divorce can be high, especially for women. Beyond the expenses of the process itself, the costs of health care, running a household on one income, taxes and other needs can be overwhelming. While it is impossible to completely shield oneself from the financial consequences of divorce, it is possible to protect one's financial interests to a certain extent.

It is critical for anyone, especially an older woman, to have an experienced attorney by his or her side during a divorce. In matters such as property division and spousal support, a tenacious legal ally can advocate for one's interests, seeking the most beneficial outcome to any financial agreements or negotiations. Ohio residents approaching retirement would be wise to seek legal counsel as early as possible if considering divorce.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Divorce Is Destroying Retirement", Ben Steverman, Oct. 17, 2016

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