When older couples divorce, finances can get complex

While the rate for divorce in general has been stable for a while, gray divorces, or those involving people over age 50, have doubled since 1990. As some Kentucky residents have discovered once they begin the process, grey divorces usually involve more complex financial dealings as couples have often acquired more assets throughout their married life.

As Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, the division of assets during divorce can be very complex since this means fair division of assets between the spouses. The court or an arbitrator decides what fair division means for each case. As part of the process, alimony is usually negotiated. Each state has different rules on how to set up alimony, but it should be based on total compensation, not just salary, which can include bonuses, allowances, compensation packages, stock options and company ownership.

Another issue to consider is the possibility of receiving Social Security based on an ex-spouse’s contributions. There are strict rules for this, including having been married at least 10 years as well as age limits and other considerations. Retirement accounts should also be evaluated as part of the division of property. In some cases, the person paying alimony and child support might be required to carry life insurance to ensure that in case of death, future payments are covered. In those cases, the person receiving the payments should make sure that they are both the owner and beneficiary of the policy, which means they control who can be a designated beneficiary.

Even if couples want to avoid a lengthy court battle and attempt to negotiate their property division amicably, they may benefit from the guidance of lawyers with family law experience. Each spouse’s lawyer may explain the state rules and regulations regarding property, represent their client during the negotiations and help their client create a negotiation strategy.