Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Special attention needed for divorce agreement in a gray divorce

More and more couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere are filing for divorce when they are older than 50. Studies show that the number of divorces later in life has grown significantly since 1990. Many of these "gray divorces" follow first marriages and are not likely to be done on the spur of the moment. After many years of marriage, there is typically a lot at stake, and to ensure all matters are addressed in a divorce agreement, each party may benefit from the services of an experienced divorce attorney.

Decisions made at this time will have a direct impact on the lives of each spouse, and it is vital that no aspect is left unaddressed. Couples may have been planning for their retirement for years, and upon divorce, retirement funds will likely be split in two. To maintain financial stability, careful planning will be required. Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, and couples must divide their assets in a manner that is fair. Couples who have difficulty coming to mutual agreements may benefit from the services of a professional divorce mediator.

With professional guidance, communication may lead to agreements that will suit both parties. For example, one spouse may offer to give up more of his or her pension in place of alimony. If one spouse wants to the family home, he or she will likely have to give up assets of a similar value. However, each spouse are entitled to have legal counsel present to participate in negotiations and avoid situations in which deals are made that could have detrimental tax implications.

Although "gray divorces" don't typically involve visitation and child support, adult children will be affected and have to be considered. Utilizing the available professional services offered by experienced divorce attorneys may be the way to ensure a divorce agreement that will allow spouses comfortable post-divorce lives. Divorcing later in life will likely be a traumatic transition, but with a competent legal team, the trauma may be minimized.

Source: money.usnews.com, "7 Things to Know About Divorcing During Your Senior Years", Maryalene Laponsie, April 24, 2015

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