Older people in Missouri, including those who have been in long-term marriages, are getting divorced in increasing numbers. Two sociologists determined that in 1990 only about 10 percent of people getting divorced were 50 or older. Just 25 years later, the figure had grown to 25 percent. Among these gray divorces, over half of them involve couples with marriages of over 20 years.
People at this point in their lives typically have multiple assets when they seek divorces. Real estate and retirement accounts represent two common forms of wealth that the splitting spouses must divide. If people want to keep the family home, they need to think about their ability to pay for upkeep and property taxes. Alternatively, two people can sell a home and split the proceeds. As for retirement accounts, these are generally divided equally unless some portions are traded for other assets. Tax consequences could come into play when people distribute retirement funds.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, often becomes an issue when long-term marriages end. A marriage that has lasted for decades could result in the award of lifelong alimony to the person with the lower earning potential.
Family law guides the division of marital property, and a person who wants to know the possible financial consequences of a divorce could talk to an attorney. A legal consultation could educate a person about rights to certain assets. This information could prepare a spouse to enter negotiations about the divorce settlement. During these discussions, an attorney could provide valuable legal advice. Additionally, an attorney might encourage compromises that keep talks from stalling.