Property division in “gray” divorces: an introductory look

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Monday, June 30, 2014.

As we have noted in past blog posts, and as scores of family law commentators have additionally pointed out, divorce is far from a cookie-cutter event in most instances.

That is, the fact patterns, key considerations and outcomes in any 10 divorces in Missouri, Illinois or elsewhere across the country are likely to be easily distinguished and highly varied. Child custody and visitation rights might be a preeminent concern in one divorce, with spousal maintenance (alimony) being a matter of key importance in another marital dissolution. For some couples, excessive drug or alcohol use might have been a dominant catalyst leading to divorce. In other cases, equitably dividing marital property might have been a top-shelf concern.

A recent article in the New York Times stresses that latter concern, and especially in the context of older couples divorcing. The paper notes that so-called “gray divorces” — decouplings among people 50 years of age or older — are exceedingly commonplace these days and destined to grow exponentially as years go by, given baby boomer demographics.

And it is hardly surprising that a major focal point in many gray divorces targets finances. Logically, many relatively older couples have amassed more savings and other types of assets than is the case for younger couples.

And divorcing individuals in their 50s, 60s and beyond have comparatively fewer years to recoup assets that could be lost in the event that they make ill-advised decisions or simply lack all the relevant facts they need to know during divorce negotiations.

We will address in some detail the special concerns and considerations that mark property division for older divorcing couples in our next blog post.

Source: The New York Times, “Retirement plans thrown into disarray by a divorce,” Constance Gustke, June 27, 2014

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