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Divorce: It's never black or white, but apparently may be gray

Something happened in Tennessee and throughout the nation between 1990 and 2010. A new trend developed and became so common that the media and others applied a colloquial term to it. It has to do with divorce, more specifically, people over age 50 who file for it in court. It's known as gray divorce, and the number of people seeking it doubled in just 20 years.

No divorce is easy, but those occurring past age 50 appear to be especially challenging in many circumstances. Severing marital ties tends to lead to changes in all aspects of life, including and particularly so where finances are concerned. It's often the case that the older a person is when getting divorced, the more financially disadvantaged he or she may become as well.

Basic facts regarding gray divorce and finances

Making ends meet in today's economy is a struggle for the average family. However, when two spouses earn incomes and can divide expenses, as well as share financial burdens, it is often easier to get by; in fact, some couples are even able to accumulate savings this way. Suddenly entering a single lifestyle presents tremendous challenges when there's no longer a financial partner in the day-to-day scheme of things. Keeping the following in mind may help you overcome financial obstacles in divorce:

  • If you are single and nearing retirement age, depletion of financial resources may be a risk.
  • If you never signed a prenuptial agreement, asset division in divorce is subject to state law.
  • In some situations, former spouses may exchange assets; for instance, one might keep an entire 401k while the other agrees to take possession of assets of equal value.
  • Don't depend on receiving a spouse's full Social Security benefits during retirement, as this would not likely be available if a gray divorce occurs.

Studies show that one in three Baby Boomers are unmarried. It's logical then to assume that some of them are unmarried due to divorce. Studies also show that continually married people enjoy more financial ease in life than their divorced counterparts do. This does not necessarily mean you'll become financially destitute if you divorce beyond age 50.

To avoid such problems, many Tennessee residents turn to experienced guidance to help them explore all of the available options and make informed decisions that best align with their particular circumstances and financial goals and needs. A family law attorney can provide clarification of state laws pertinent to your divorce issues and can help you protect your assets and defend your rights by aggressively litigating any issue that warrants it.

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