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How to Avoid Financial Pitfalls When Divorcing Later in Life

Divorcing later in life can be challenging. Not only do you likely have more assets than when you first got married, but divorcing when you are near retirement age can create added complications.

While divorce is never easy, there are some simple things you can do to make the divorce process smoother and ensure that you receive what you deserve in the proceedings.

Have an inventory of all of your assets before meeting with your attorney.

Identify which assets are held jointly or individually, the premarital values, if any, and make a detailed list. This will make things quicker and easier when you meet with your attorney.

Make a detailed list of all past and present employers of both spouses.

Check with former and current employers for any pension money that you may be entitled to from employment early in your marriage. It’s not unusual for couples to have forgotten money from past employers.

Ask questions when it comes to alimony.

If you’re entitled to alimony, ask about how you will be affected in the case of job loss, lowered income, disability or death. If you are advised that there is insurance coverage, request a copy of the insurance contracts and review them carefully. Consider negotiating a lump sum settlement versus monthly alimony. This one consideration could keep you from experiencing a break in your expected monthly alimony payments, should your ex-spouse fall on difficult times financially.

Square away your life insurance policy now.

To avoid any potential hardship if you’re entitled to alimony, ask to be named both owner and beneficiary of the insurance contract, or ask to receive statements if you are only the beneficiary. This will ensure that you have easy access to payment history, ensuring that the policy does not lapse due to nonpayment. This expense is usually arranged as part of the settlement agreement.

See if you’re eligible to collect on your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.

Many divorcées are unaware that they may be eligible to collect on the Social Security benefit of their ex-spouse; as long as they were married for 10 years or more. It doesn’t matter if your ex-spouse has had multiple marriages or is currently remarried and is collecting a retirement benefit. If each marriage lasted 10 years, then each and every ex-spouse can collect a benefit. Do your research; check with the Social Security Administration. The site www.socialsecuritychoices.com is also a good resource.

Divorcing later in life isn’t easy, but you can protect yourself by being organized and planning thoroughly. Looking for more specific advice about your divorce? Contact us today.