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Property division in a gray divorce can affect retirement

Since the 1990s, in Pennsylvania and across the country, gray divorce has been on the rise. It is believed that 25 percent of divorces now involve couples who are nearing retirement age. While the dissolution of marriage can be done at any time, when it occurs later in life it can have an extremely negative impact on one's retirement years. For this reason, how the property division aspect of a gray divorce is handled really does matter.

When older couples choose to end their marriages, they often have quite a few joint assets that need to be split in some way. The biggest asset is usually the marital home or other shared real estate. In some cases, it may make sense for one party to keep the property, but in others it is better to sell and split any proceeds. Every situation is different, so it will be necessary to weigh the positives and negatives of keeping or selling property. One's legal counsel will be able to help with this process.

Determining how to split monetary assets can also take a bit of time. After all, splitting accounts sometimes comes with fees and penalties. Taxes also come into play which could drastically reduce the amount one will actually receive.

Obtaining a fair and balanced property division settlement in a gray divorce is possible, but it will take time to achieve. It will be time that is considered well spent, however, as rushing through this process will only cause unnecessary issues and will have a negative impact on one's retirement plan. An experienced family law attorney can help negotiate or -- if necessary -- litigate terms that are in line with the laws of Pennsylvania and will allow both parties to walk away from the marriage prepared for the future.

Source:, "Over 65? How to know if you can afford a 'gray divorce'", Dawn Doebler, Feb. 21, 2017

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