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Divorce for older couples can impact retirement plans

Gray divorce is not a new concept in America -- for the last 25 years, statistics have indicated that more and more people over the age of 50 are deciding to end their marriages. However, Connecticut residents are reminded that divorce can have a different effect on people depending upon where they are in their lives. For people approaching retirement age, a divorce can have a profound influence on their late-life planning. 

As a general rule, a couple who divorces when both spouses are older than 50 will have had fairly lengthy marriages, often resulting in a larger number of marital assets. Depending upon the state of residence, the law can take different attitudes on how these assets will be divided. In any case, moving down to a single income or a single retirement package can leave some people financially lacking. 

It is important to remember that spousal benefits under Social Security are counted as marital assets for marriages of 10 years or more, which means they will be considered susceptible to division in a settlement agreement. While it is tempting to focus on day-to-day assets in the face of a divorce, it is important to remember the larger picture. Considering how these assets will be divided can help both parties plan more effectively for their futures. 

Divorce brings with it unique challenges at any stage of life, but this is certainly most visible in the gray-divorce demographic. Thankfully, Connecticut residents entering this phase of their lives have a great deal of support available to them. Seeking out this support and learning more about the process can be a key part of a successful divorce settlement. 

Source:, "How divorce after 50 may affect your retirement savings", Janet Kidd, Feb. 13, 2015

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