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Property division doesn't have to derail gray divorce

The face -- and age -- of divorce in America is changing. More than ever before, couples over the age of 50 are coming to the conclusion that their marriages just are not working out. While there are no age limits on divorcing to pursue a happier life, individuals in this age group do have a few more concerns than their younger counterparts, particularly when it comes to property division.

Pew Research reported that, while divorce rates decreased over the last 25 years by 21 percent for couples between the ages of 25 and 39, older couples started divorcing more frequently. Couples between the ages of 40 to 49 saw an increase of 14 percent in their divorce rate. Gray divorce, which includes those 50 and older, shot up 109 percent.

Fewer opportunities create bigger concerns

Getting divorced at a young age can take a toll on a person's finances, but a person in their 20s, 30s or even their early 40s still has time to recover. These individuals typically have plenty of earning potential ahead of them and can get back on their feet without many issues. If you are over the age of 50, you have fewer opportunities to regrow your assets. This is particularly true if you are close to or are already in retirement.

There is an upside, though. After decades of marriage, you probably have more assets to divide than someone in their 20s. Untangling a lifetime of marital property can feel overwhelming, but successfully handling property division can leave you on relatively solid financial ground. Just make sure to have everything properly valued before dividing assets up.

Supporting two households

Retirement savings might be one of your biggest concerns, and understandably so. You and your ex probably spent years putting away for retirement, and you are both counting on that money for financial stability. Unfortunately, the money that you saved to support a single household in retirement might not stretch as far when split between two households.

Dealing with this realization is not easy. You and your ex should consider all of your options when dealing with retirement funds, such as moving into more affordable housing, pushing back retirement or possibly re-entering the workforce.

Don't let fear get in the way

Divorcing later in life can be scary and you may have valid concerns about your financial future. However, do not let those fears stop you from ending an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage. You deserve to live a happy life, and delaying the decision can make it even harder for you to go through with the process in the future.

Since you have so much on the line, working with an attorney who is experienced in Maryland family law and property division can be helpful. Having the right guidance might make the difference between thriving and simply surviving after a divorce.

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