South Florida Family Law Blog
Over the past 20 years, the number of couples over the age of 50 getting divorced has nearly doubled. Today, 1 in 4 divorces is a couple over 50 untying the knot. Divorce at any age is financially draining, as retirement nears the situation may be more complicated; you are now faced with funding two separate lives when you have only saved for one.According to Susan Brown, a Bowling Green State University professor who has researched gray divorce trends, 30% of divorced women who are 62 and older live at or below the federal poverty line, and 14% of men who divorce after 62 are in poverty while just 4% of married couples at that age are at or below the poverty line.Divorce close to retirement can be extremely complicated even when there are no custody issues. The longer a couple has been married the more assets and debts need untangling. For marriages of 10 years and longer, spousal Social Security benefits should also be considered. The present value of a retirement plan is often a couple’s largest asset, but people tend to focus on the house and the assets they use every day. The division of 401k and IRA assets should be given thought, as there are seldom used liquidity options which are available without penalty. One such option is what is commonly called a 72T distribution. This distributions name derives from Internal Revenue Code Section 72 part “t”, which allows for withdrawals from retirement accounts without a 10% penalty if the money is taken out in substantially equal periodic payments for at least 5 years. Spouses should consider post-divorce plans which highlight the current value of assets and also illustrate there future impact on retirement.
A growing trend in the area of gray divorce is the choice of couples aged 50+ to use collaborative divorce law. Instead of arguing through a mediator or judge both sides will work together to commit to a plan that will establish the best long-term financial outcome for both spouses. Collaborative divorce can go a long way in addressing the concerns surrounding gray divorce. It can allow for spouses to end their marriage while preserving their shared relationship with family members, particularly adult children and grandchildren. During the collaborative divorce process, spouses will work with a team of lawyers, financial specialists, and mental health professionals in order to navigate the process in a respectful and healthy manner and come up with equitable agreement for the entire family outside of the court system.
When seeking out a collaborative professional the standards promulgated by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”) provide an excellent benchmark for training. To become a member of the IACP a lawyer must complete extensive and rigorous training in alternative dispute resolution and interest based negotiation.
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Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.No Comments
Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.