Asset Division in DivorceMarried individuals over the age of 50 decide to go through with a divorce for the purpose of bettering their lives. However, the separation process can take its toll -- both emotionally and financially. Many older Americans are finding it necessary to downsize their retirement spending plans and make difficult asset division choices during their divorce proceedings.

Asset Division Challenges

Divorcing 50-plus couples may have specific asset division challenges ahead of them -- especially when it comes to pensions, 401(k) plans and retirement funds. Many people who are over the age of 50 have large pensions awaiting them at retirement, in addition to defined-contribution plans and other large saving accounts and real estate assets. Disagreements over the distribution of these assets can get ugly, according to experts. Nevertheless, individuals who want to receive their fair shares may be required to fight for them in court if they want to avoid losing hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in retirement benefits in the future.

Experts familiar with 50-plus divorce issues recommend individuals employ a financial planner familiar with divorce experience in addition to a divorce attorney. Financial planners can be vital in helping individuals untangle the confusion of laws that pertain to retirement plans, in addition to tax codes that apply to the asset division process. They can also offer predictions about future retirement incomes.

Some may even wish to consult with a financial planner before deciding to go through with a divorce, as it will help divorcing spouses know what they are getting into ahead of time. Knowledge is power during any type of legal proceeding and in many cases (such as divorce) that powerful knowledge does not stop with a familiarity with the law; it also includes financial knowledge and tools for dealing with the complex emotions that arise during a legal battle.

Assembling a Team of Advocacy

Every divorce is different, no matter what the ages of the individuals, and an experienced divorce attorney is well aware of this fact. Through the use of qualified legal counsel, tax accountants, financial planners and -- in some cases -- mental health counseling services, a divorcing spouse can get the help he or she needs to navigate a separation in the best way possible.

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