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Challenges of late-life divorce can include property division

The phenomenon of so-called grey divorce is not new, according to many experts, but it is becoming more prevalent in Canada today. British Columbia residents may be interested to know that couples between the ages of 52 and 70 are divorcing at such an advanced rate that the national average remains that half of all marriages end in divorce, despite the fact that numbers are dropping among younger couples. For couples facing late-life divorce, issues like property division and retirement can represent an even more complex challenge than they might for younger couples. 

It is estimated that following divorce, older individuals will spend between 30 and 50 percent more money on day-to-day life as single individuals than they did when they were married. A lot of this has to do with the fact that marital property and assets are often divided during a divorce. This means that, while one spouse might keep the family home while the other takes the car, this does not preclude the homeowner from needing a vehicle and the driver from needing somewhere to live. 

Changes to retirement also need to be considered. In many cases, one spouse is reliant upon the other's retirement plan, but such a plan is considered an asset to be handled by the court and awarded in the same way as other assets. This means one spouse could be facing a far more uncertain future than he or she originally intended. While grey divorce certainly has its benefits, the potential hazards associated with it should be considered in advance of any decisions being made. 

While property division, asset division and retirement considerations are all issues facing any British Columbia couple looking at divorce, they are particularly prevalent for those divorcing in later life. Seeking the support of qualified legal professionals to help navigate the sometimes-challenging waters of divorce law can be helpful to both parties. This, in turn, can help them move forward in their single lives as happier and more stable individuals. 

Source: Yahoo Finance, "10 Hazards of Divorcing When You're Older", Aug. 17, 2016

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