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Kane County family law attorneysYou have worked very hard for many years to accumulate significant assets which you assumed would fund your retirement. Whether you have a fully-vested pension plan, 401(k), IRA, or other investments accounts, those funds will likely be waiting for you when you retire—unless you get divorced. Retirement investments, like any other asset, may be considered marital property and, therefore, would be subject to division between you and your spouse in the event of divorce. There are several ways in which retirement accounts may be considered in divorce, including one that may require the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

Dividing or Offsetting

Depending upon when you first began contributing to your retirement funds, all of your investments may not be subject to division. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, only the portion that accumulated during your marriage is considered marital property. You might need the help of a financial professional to establish the value of the investment prior to the marriage, so that only the correct portion is considered during the divorce process. Once that has been done, you, your spouse, and the court need to determine how, or even if, the investments will be divided.

If you and your spouse possess other significant assets such as homes, vehicles, or non-retirement savings, you may be able to negotiate a deal in which you keep your entire retirement investment. This could be even more likely if each of you already has a separate pension or 401(k). Instead of complicating matters by splitting benefits that will not be payable for years, you may, for example, be permitted to keep your pension, while your spouse is allocated a larger share of your marital cash holdings.

Posted on in Property Division

Kane County divorce attorneysDivorce among the baby boomer generation is more common now than ever before. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, divorces among married couples 50 and over doubled from 1990 to 2014. Over the same period, divorces among couples 65 and older tripled. Divorce among older couples has unique challenges. One important issue that older divorcees face is divvying up retirement accounts. Older Americans have a smaller window to earn after they divorce, so retirement accounts are a commonly fought over topic.

How Are Retirement Investments Divided?

Regardless of who saved more, retirement accounts are often split evenly, or close to it, when a couple divorces. Attorneys say that in a large majority of divorce cases, retirement accounts are considered marital property, and funds that were saved up to support one household must be divided to support two individuals. “There are a number of people who say ‘I have socked away every month and I do not see why I have to divide it with my spouse,” says Joslin Davis, former president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “The law says ‘too bad.’”

Geneva divorce attorneyOver the last few decades, there has been a noticeable increase in older married couples getting divorced. In fact, the rate of these “grey divorces” doubled between 1990 and 2010. If you are over the age of 50 and are considering getting a divorce, you may face some unique challenges. As you weigh your options, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You May Be Ordered to Pay Spousal Support

When an older couple gets divorced, they are often more established financially than a younger couple would be. Therefore, there are some rather unique financial situations that may arise. Firstly, those couples that have been married for several decades should expect one of them to be ordered to pay spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony. Often, spouses have considerably different incomes or one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other worked. In these circumstances, the higher-earning spouse is often ordered to pay spousal support to the lower-earning spouse. The duration that payments will occur and the amount of each payment will depend on the recipient’s health, ability to find employment, job skills, and other factors.

Kane County family law attorneyFollowing a divorce, it is very common for people to begin worrying about their future, especially if they are at an age where retirement may soon be an option. One of the issues that may concern them is the question of Social Security benefits. There is much confusion over who is entitled to what, and without the help of an experienced attorney, you and your ex-spouse can find yourselves back in court or embroiled in a long debate that is simply unnecessary.

Requirements to Collect

Almost everyone in the United States who legally works will build up what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls a work record. Normally, you will be entitled to benefits based on the length and type of your work record, but spouses or former spouses have the right to collect based on their spouse’s record if it is better than their own. The rationale is that especially for older women, who might be lacking in ability to reenter the workforce after divorce, there needs to be a safety net of sorts to keep people out of poverty.

So-called gray divorce is more and more common as the boomer generation moves into retirement age. With more women being financially independent than ever before and equitable distribution laws now in place in just about every state—including Illinois—the possibility of divorcing later in life is more available than ever. The ease with which an older couple can divorce, however, doesn’t explain why a couple of decades would decide to suddenly call it quits. The Huffington Post has identified reasons that many couples turn to divorce even after decades of marriage. Reasons For Divorce After Decades of Marriage: Gray Divorce IMAGE

“Most of us are shocked to hear divorce news when it concerns a couple who spent more than a decade together. We wonder how they could have invested so much time into their relationship, only to declare it no longer works,” reports the Huffington Post. Overall, according to the U.S Census Bureau, “first marriages which ended in divorce lasted a median of 8 years for men and women overall.” The median age for a second marriage for women was 33, and 36 for men.

The Huffington Post reports mainly psychological reasons as to why a person would decide to divorce later in life. The first is a “loss of connection.” Once children are grown, “come couples will see this transition as a vibrant opportunity to embark on new adventures. Others will look towards one another and see they no longer recognize and understand the partner they married,” reports the Huffington Post. Another realization that older people have that causes divorce later in life “that life is short.” As people realize their goals that they have not yet achieved, some see divorce as a separation from an old life and the start of a new one.

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