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Handling property division in grey divorce

Chances are, most people have heard about so-called "grey divorce", wherein couples over the age of 65 make the decision to end their marriages. It is a growing trend among the over-60 crowd here in British Columbia and across the nation. However, property division -- commonly one of the more contentious elements of a divorce proceeding -- can take on new aspects in a grey divorce. Given the age of the divorcees, dividing property late in life can have lasting effects on their retirement and estate plans.

In many relationships lasting decades, the family home becomes a focal point of marital assets. While it is sometimes best for one or the other spouse to retain ownership of the home, often sentimentality can obfuscate the financial viability of such an option. In many cases, property tax and maintenance alone make it impossible for one spouse to retain ownership in the long term. 

This is also true of joint assets, which usually far outweigh liquid assets in terms of value. Many of these assets can be difficult to split evenly -- particularly complicated assets like private equity holdings or hedge funds. Having a solid picture of the couple's assets at the onset of divorce proceedings, combined with the support of experienced divorce attorneys, can help make this complicated split easier.

Property division is just one challenge facing any British Columbia residents seeking divorce, regardless of age. However, in many cases, the first step of retaining individual counsel for each spouse can be of benefit to the process as a whole. Distilling complicated divorce issues down to manageable questions is a good way to speed the process and smooth the road toward a comfortable late life for both spouses. 

Source:, "Over 65? How to know if you can afford a 'gray divorce'", Dawn Doebler, Feb. 21, 2017

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