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Older divorce on the rise

As couples age, we tend to think their problems become less frequent. However, recent statistics are showing that this may not be the case. A 2013 study conducted at Bowling Green State University in Ohio found that divorces among those over the age of 50, also known as "grey divorces," doubled between 1990 and 2000. This suggests that couples are still making important decisions about their happiness later in life.

Special considerations must be taken into account when going through a grey divorce. Many find the process complex, having to redefine where things lie after many years of marriage. Retirement benefits, financial assets and other property have grown throughout the marriage and will continue to grow. Divorcing couples must remember to handle each piece separately in order to achieve a fair and accurate split.

When dividing property in the state of Massachusetts, couples are subject to Massachusetts' law. Property division laws provide that the division of property will take place by way of equitable distribution. This means that a court will divide property in a manner that is fair and just. Fair and just does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The other method of property division used in several states is community property division. This division looks at property owned by the couple and splits everything right down the middle.

Property subject to division by Massachusetts' courts is called community property. Community property can include anything that the couple has achieved together in their relationship or shares. Separate property, on the other hand, reflects property that an individual has kept separate from the marriage. Examples of separate property can include an inheritance or a family heirloom.

Source: Forbes, "Saving Your Retirement From A Divorce," Greg Brown, Oct. 21, 2013

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