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Gray divorce can lead to unexpected financial turmoil

Many marriages in Colorado and throughout the U.S. end in divorce. What might be a surprise is how many of the divorces that are happening are not of relatively short-term marriages involving younger people, but the so-called "gray divorce" when older people who have been together for an extended period or got married later in life choose to end their marriage and part ways. While this might seem like a freeing experience for some, there are issues that must be considered when getting a gray divorce.

The number of divorces for people 50 and older has doubled since the 1990's. Although there are benefits that go along with ending an unhappy marriage, the division of assets and other financial considerations can be problematic for many. This is especially true for women. Statistics show that 56 percent of married women let their spouse handle the finances. It is not just older women who do this. Millennial women are also prone to this strategy with 61 percent doing so. That is seven percentage points higher than women who are considered "baby boomers."

A study by UBS Global Wealth Management involving 1,500 couples who are together and more than 600 women who divorced or were widows in the past five years accrued these numbers. 59 percent of women who divorced or whose husbands died did not participate in financial planning. 85 percent of married women were in the same situation. 89 percent said they were satisfied with the way in which finances were handled in the marriage.

When a couple divorces, there are often basic reasons why it happens. Once the case moves forward and other issues that might not have been previously known are revealed, those who are not privy to the finances from the marriage are frequently surprised and unprepared for the future when they will be forced to handle these issues themselves. With the litany of factors that come to the forefront after a couple parts ways, it is imperative to have legal help to prepare for it. A lawyer who is experienced in all aspects of divorce can be useful from the start.

Source: Bloomberg.com, "Rise of 'Gray' Divorce Forces Financial Reckoning After 50," Suzanne Woolley, April 13, 2018

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
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