There can be many complications in handling the divorce of older clients--those that have had the chance to own a home, build retirement savings, and have an investment portfolio. Because many of these couples have achieved some level of personal and financial security during the marriage, the...
There can be many complications in handling the divorce of older clients--those that have had the chance to own a home, build retirement savings, and have an investment portfolio. Because many of these couples have achieved some level of personal and financial security during the marriage, the lawyer is faced with a multitude of difficult and complex issues. And the number of these clients aged 45 and over will only grow: there are currently 80 million Baby Boomers, and they are indeed getting divorced. Divorce in the Golden Years is a unique reference for the family lawyer that details how to handle the assets that a divorcing couple has accumulated while considering the special issues related to the age of the clients or the duration of their marriage.
In the introduction, Leslie Ann Shaner, points out some of the challenges in these divorces and how to handle them. Not only are there financial complexities, many of these clients require additional time and attention to process the ramifications of these decisions. Lawyers must also be prepared for a higher incidence of death in these clients, and because of this it is important to focus on what will happen to a couple's assets upon one of the parties' deaths either during or after divorce. These situations are addressed throughout the book.
Divorce in the Golden Years explains how a divorcing couple is affected by the type, if any, of estate planning that has been established during the marriage including:
- Nonprobate assets: those that pass to beneficiaries outside of an estate's administration, including savings accounts, retirement plans, IRAs, insurance policies, investments and certificates of
- Intestacy and the complicated issues raised when a divorcing client or spouse dies without a will
- Existing estate plans that need to be reviewed to avoid complications, and how to revised or initiate a plan after separation but before divorce in order to disinherit a current spouse
Subsequent chapters explain further issues that complicate the divorce of a couple approaching or in their golden years related to concerns about powers of attorney and medical directives, and the numerous issues involved in spousal support, including equitable distribution factors, methods of payment, amount, and modification of spousal support. Retirement plans, which are often the most valuable asset of clients approaching their golden years, are examined in the final chapter, including the application of state law, social security, and QDROs.
Many of the book's appendices offer critical state-by-state information about issues raised in these divorces, including:
- Uniform nonprobate asset statutes
- Surviving spouse, dower & curtesy, and elective share status
- UTMA and trust statutes
- Revocation upon divorce/annulment statutes
- Spousal support and equitable distribution factors: fault, duration of marriage, contributions to well-being, and contributions to education
- Spousal support factors: standard of living, age, health, and health insurance
- Equitable division factors: earning capacity, standard of living, age, and physical and mental health
Additional appendices include checklists, modification of spousal support court ordered and property settlement agreements, property settlement agreement provisions, and a sample summary of defined contribution and defined benefit plans.