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Gray Divorce Can Leave You Seeing Red

divorceYou know a sea change is happening when the number of people within a certain age bracket who are divorcing soars so high that the trend earns its own sobriquet.

Such is the case with “gray divorce,” which we’ve written about several times on this blog. As the phenomenon continues (the divorce rate among people ages 50 and older doubled from 1990 to 2010), its effects are revealed in other areas.

The most recent revelation is that the financial situation can change drastically. Gray divorces frequently result in splitting retirement savings in half, Craig Ferrantino, president of Craig James Financial Services in New York, recently told The Washington Post.

Retirement savings include pensions, IRAs and 401Ks.

The problem is that older couples who divorce and split their retirement savings often must change their lifestyle expectations. That nest egg that would have comfortably accommodated the plans of a couple during retirement often doesn’t stretch far enough to support two separate individuals post-divorce.

“Sometimes it is difficult to find a solution that makes both parties happy in these situations,” says Encinitas divorce attorney John Griffith. “At this age, it’s often too late to generate the income necessary to accommodate both people at the same level as they had planned when they were married.”

Although it’s unfortunate that those who are part of the gray divorce phenomenon can’t be helped in every situation, Griffith said he hopes younger generations are watching this trend and taking note.

“It would be great if this trend sparks conversations among younger couples to be more diligent about their retirement savings,” Griffith says.

Griffith doesn’t advocate for divorce, but “most couples don’t enter a marriage intent on divorcing down the road, either,” he says. “All couples should hope for the best, yet be prepared for an ending that doesn’t result in ‘happily ever after.’”

Consider saving for retirement in a manner that should the marriage end in divorce, it won’t leave either spouse in the red.

Couples planning to marry might also consider a prenuptial agreement. In California, the court takes the approach that all earnings, property accumulated from those earnings (including retirement) and asset appreciation during a marriage are to be evenly divided in the event of a divorce. If you and your future spouse wish to keep your individual accumulations from being divided by the court, you can do so in a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement also can help protect both spouses from each other’s debts, and it can limit or forfeit the right to alimony.

If you’re in the gray divorce category and you need some legal guidance on how to navigate the process as painlessly as possible, please call our office for a complimentary consultation.

Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego