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Gray Divorce: What to Expect if You’re Getting Divorced in Your Retirement Years

When people get divorced over the age of 50, it is known as gray divorce. One factor that often complicates gray divorces is the fact that one or both spouses have retired. Getting divorced after retiring brings up all sorts of financial implications involving retirement benefits that can be extremely difficult to resolve quickly or amicably.

What Should I Expect if I’m Getting Divorced After Retiring?

Getting divorced in your retirement years often involves resolving a wide range of issues that don’t usually come into play for those who get divorced in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. Here are a few of the issues you can expect to encounter if you get divorced after retiring:

  • IRA/401K – Yes, your 401K and IRA may only have your name on them. However, in many instances, your soon-to-be former spouse is entitled to a portion of your 401K and/or IRA. The laws regarding dividing retirement assets, such as IRAs and 401Ks, are complex, and your best bet is to discuss your options with an experienced divorce attorney prior to filing for divorce (if you are the one who initially files for divorce and not your spouse). Your attorney may suggest that you file a qualifying domestic relations order (QDRO), which can outline how you and your spouse’s 401K plans should be divided. In the case of IRAs, you don’t need to file a QDRO. Instead, you and your spouse will negotiate an agreement (or your attorneys will) and based on that agreement, the portion of the IRA going to your spouse or that your spouse owes you will be distributed to the recipient spouse via direct rollover. A direct rollover involves an IRA administrator making a direct payment from one person’s IRA account to another person’s retirement account.
  • Social Security – If you are already receiving Social Security payments, the amount of your payments could change after you get divorced. This is because your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your Social Security payments or vice versa. According to the Social Security Administration, if your former spouse is over 62, you two were married over 10 years, your ex-spouse hasn’t remarried, and your ex’s Social Security payments are less than yours, then they may be able to collect a portion of your Social Security payments or vice versa if you meet the requirements.
  • Pensions – You and your former spouse may also be eligible to collect a portion of each other’s pension plans. However, you two will probably only be eligible to receive a portion of what was earned while you were married. For example, if you worked somewhere for 30 years and you and your ex-spouse were only married for 10 of those years, then your former spouse may only be eligible to collect from the portion of your pension that you earned during the 10 years you were married. Pension plans are often more difficult to divide than other retirement benefits because of pension plan rules and state regulations. In some cases, spouses with the larger pension plan will sacrifice another marital asset so that they can avoid having to go through the trouble of dividing up their pensions.
  • Estate Planning – In many cases, it’s not about dividing up your estate plan if you get divorced during your retirement years. Instead, you may just need to update your estate plan by removing your former spouse from things like your will, life insurance policy, power of attorney, advance directives, and trusts.

Schedule a Case Evaluation with Our Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Las Vegas Today

For more than 30 years, our divorce attorneys at Leavitt Law Firm have been helping clients in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada through the divorce process. We understand the complexities you can face as you deal with matters involving finances, child custody, retirement benefits, child support, and alimony. More importantly, as our clients’ testimonials prove, we know how to help our clients secure the most favorable outcome for their situation.

To learn more about gray divorce and divorce after retirement in Nevada, give us a call at (702) 996-6052 or contact us online today for a confidential consultation with our experienced divorce lawyers in Las Vegas.

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