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Property division for older divorcees comes with possible expense

A person who has invested heavily in the partnership of a marriage can possibly face a loss upon divestment. Although divorce is an emotional affair, it can also be approached like a business transaction. Rates of later in life, "gray" divorces are rising, and when older individuals divorce, they sometimes face more complicated property division. The longer a pair are intertwined, the murkier are the boundaries of what property belongs to whom. In a recent news article, one expert tries to share helpful information that individuals in Florida may find helpful if they are navigating gray divorce. 

Retirement accounts in particular can be tricky to separate. Certain accounts are taxed upon withdrawal, and the sum on the balance sheet can be quite different than the after-tax amount. These accounts can be rolled over into a separate retirement account without penalty, but a divorcing person can't expect to pull out their "half" in a cashier's check. Brokerage accounts also have fees associated with liquidation.

The home represents more than shelter to many, and an emotional attachment to a house can be a problematic issue for separating couples. If a person trades off investments for the house, they could potentially lose the home or have it drop in value. A person who faces starting over in old age could be surprised by increased costs of property. 

The costs associated with property division do not have to be daunting. If a person is able to anticipate and plan for issues, they can take steps to protect themselves. Also, a person in Florida who considers divorce more like dissolving a business partnership may be able to use mediation to end it with a handshake and the extended olive branch of peace and fairness. Every situation is unique, and some individuals choose to hire a lawyer. 

Source: kiplinger.com, "The True Cost of Gray Divorce", Scott Hanson, Sept. 25, 2017

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