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Retirement account issues can plague gray divorces

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2021 | Divorce

People going through “gray divorce” in Ohio may avoid child custody and support issues, but retirement account matters can be just as stressful. Older couples have some specific concerns they need to address when splitting after years or even decades of marriage.

Gray divorce skyrocketing

Divorce rates for people under age 49 are declining, but rates are surging among the 50-and-older crowd. Fewer Gen Xers and millennials choose to tie the knot officially, and those who do have a better success rate than their baby boomer parents and grandparents.

Among the boomers calling it quits, people who married more than once are leading the pack in divorce rates. Remarried couples in this demographic are three times as likely to divorce than their single-union counterparts.

What’s behind the trend? Financial stress and infidelity are oft-cited reasons. Increased female autonomy and reassessments that come with longer life spans are other societal factors guiding the shift.

Gray divorce financial considerations

Gray divorces can lead to fraught financial situations since retirement account considerations are at the fore for older individuals. Couples who enjoyed a double-income marriage may have intertwined 401(k)s, Roth IRAs and other retirement accounts, and cleaving them can prove tricky. Conversely, for single-income households, transferring large percentages of old accounts to brand-new ones can be equally complicated. Pension legalities may also present challenges.

Tax obligations can be another hurdle. Severing retirement accounts and breaking up trusts can result in giant tax bills if done improperly. Balancing property tax burdens requires the deft hand of an experienced family law attorney and finance professional.

Mature couples who are divorcing are typically best served by family law attorneys with retirement account and asset separation experience. An individual going through divorce may want to seek an attorney who has the knowledge needed to squeeze equitable solutions out of contentious situations.