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Late-life divorce: When union ends but retirement nears, part 1

Imagine that you are ready to retire. You and your spouse have spent decades preparing for your future together. You have a nice home and a healthy retirement account. You even run a successful business.

Now imagine that you and your spouse have decided to separate after 25, 30 or even 40 years together. This scenario isn't difficult to imagine because it's happening all across the country at an elevated rate. The recent divorce of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver is a perfect example.

A U.S. Census report that was published earlier this year indicates that more couples are choosing to divorce after decades of marriage. The number is even increasing among couples who have only been married once. While the report did not indicate the specific age at which older couples are divorcing, one popular theory is that a fundamental change in the marriage occurs around retirement age.

When an individual reaches retirement age, he or she tends to evaluate what the remaining years of their life will be like. For couples who have endured troubled marriages for years, the thought of spending more time together is too much to bear. They want to take legal action and end their long-term marriages in order to enjoy what are supposed to be their golden years.

But enjoying one's retirement isn't just a given. Especially in today's economy, thorough and wise planning is necessary in order to secure the finances necessary to retire comfortably. Our next post will continue this discussion by briefly describing how to approach a late-life divorce with financial security in mind.

Source

The Wall Street Journal: "The 'Splitting' Headaches of Late-Life Divorce," Kelly Greene, Aug. 6, 2011

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