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What is a gray divorce?

Throughout the United States, including Tampa Bay, Florida, and the surrounding area, "gray divorces" are becoming more common. A gray divorce is defined as a divorce of a couple over 50 years of age. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, gray divorces have doubled over the last 25 years.

Generally speaking, the longer a couple has been married, typically the more complicated the divorce with regards to property division. If you are considering divorce, it might be wise to first consider a legal separation. This can lead to a "cooling down" period which allows you to gather your thoughts and reassess the situation, presumably with less emotion involved in your decision-making. It is not uncommon in divorces for couples to be so upset that they make less than ideal decisions.

If you believe that divorce is inevitable and in everyone's best interests, one of the hurdles you will have to resolve is property division. Although it is not uncommon for older couples to be less emotionally tied in a home, if one spouse has emotional ties and wants to stay, the spouse that stays will have to offer other assets worth half the value of the home.

This can become especially tricky when you consider that a house's value is determined after taxes, while pensions and IRAs are pre-tax. Instead of trying to navigate these tricky property division decisions alone, it might be in everyone's best interest to reach out to a firm familiar with divorce and property division to learn how to best proceed and protect your money and assets.

Source: Reuters, "Your Money: Older couples ponder financial impact of divorce," Beth Pinsker, April 26, 2017

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