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Your divorce should not derail your retirement plans

Divorce happens to couples of all ages. While many couples divorce in their 20s, 30s and 40s, the rate of people divorcing after age 50 is higher than ever. The Pew Research Center states that the divorce rate has doubled for American adults ages 50 and over.

While divorce poses financial challenges for every couple, the stakes are even higher for people in these so-called “gray divorces.” A gray divorce could seriously damage your plans for retirement—but it does not necessarily have to.

  • Remain rational

Most people find a separation or divorce very emotional. However, you should not let your emotions control your financial decisions. Now is the time to reign in your spending and keep a cool head. Protect your own best interests—not your former spouse’s—when reaching a financial settlement.

  • Consider your retirement income

Take advantage of every possible option for retirement income. In some cases, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. While Social Security payments are not community property, pensions are. Consider how divorce will affect your pension when the time comes to divide it. You may also want to make catch-up contributions to your retirement accounts.

  • Seek outside help

When you are in the middle of a divorce, it can be hard to look at things objectively. Working with a professional like a financial advisor or attorney can give a much-needed outsider perspective. They can help you get a grasp on your situation and help you anticipate a reasonable outcome.

In its research, the Pew Research Center also states that a significant share of gray divorces involves couples who were married for over 30 years. While your divorce may feel overwhelming, it is also the start of a new chapter of life. Your retirement is something to look forward to—as is your post-divorce life.

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When faced with divorce or a child custody dispute, you may feel paralyzed as you grieve the loss of a relationship. But you need to take action. Once we take over the legal issues, you will be able to move toward a new normal.

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