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5 situations that older couples may encounter in divorce

If you are over 50 and about to end your marriage, you and your spouse will likely face situations that would not have affected you in your younger years.

Here are five situations you should think about as you prepare for divorce:

1. Reduced retirement funds

No matter who instigated the divorce or why, neither of you will be penalized in terms of the division of your retirement accounts. In most cases, your retirement funds and many other assets will be evenly divided. From your point of view, the comfortable cushion you anticipated will be cut in half and your retirement years will no longer look so secure.

2. Keeping the marital home

Women often fight to keep the home they have loved and cared for. If you want to keep the marital home, you will have to give up something of equal value to your spouse. It could be a larger share of an investment account, for example, or a smaller alimony payment. Remember that as a homeowner, you will have certain financial obligations to meet, such as taxes and maintenance expenses, which could strain your new budget.

3. The alimony issue

Whereas alimony payments may be awarded on a temporary basis for younger divorcing couples, alimony is almost always granted for older couples who are ending a long marriage.

4. Helping family members

While you are probably finished raising minor children, you may be helping adult children financially or contributing to the care of elderly parents. However, payments to third parties do not usually become part of a divorce settlement. You and your spouse may have to work out how to continue the cash flow to family members who need financial assistance.

5. Maintaining civility

Having been partners in a marriage for many years, you and your spouse should be able to carry a spirit of teamwork into your divorce proceedings. Civility is preferable to anger; you will not benefit from a contentious divorce. Your paths will probably cross in the years to come, especially if you have children, so it would be a good idea to maintain as amiable a relationship as you can.

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