Nancy L. Sponseller

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Financial ramifications of gray divorce

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

Ohio residents may not be aware of the nationwide trend of gray divorce and what it could mean for separating couples. A gray divorce is typically between partners who are over the age of 50, often after decades of marriage.

The divorce rate among this particular demographic has doubled in the years since 1990. In a U.S. study conducted in 2010, approximately 15% of all women and 11% of all men aged 65 and up were divorced. This is a substantial increase since 1960, when only 2% of the people in that age bracket were reported divorced.

For example, a significant proportion of the population may be unaware that retirement accounts, when accrued during the term of the marriage, are considered marital property and are subject to equitable division under Ohio law. Regardless of whose name is on the title, anything gained by either party during the marriage is equally owned by both spouses and may be split up between the departing couple according to the settlement agreement. The only exceptions are property that predates the marriage and gifts or inheritances specifically meant for only one party. However, if such assets are placed into a joint account, they may be considered marital assets from that point on.

Retirement accounts are sometimes the most valuable and reliable assets that a married couple may own. These may also include Social Security benefits if the divorcing partner is over 62 years of age and the marriage lasted at least 10 years. In the case of Social Security, the former partner whose name is on the account will not see their benefits decrease, and the ex-spouse will have their legitimate share disbursed separately to them. The guidance of an attorney can be beneficial when navigating fine points of the law and seeking financial remedies such as these.

Source: Forbes, “The Big Money Mistake Divorcing Women Make“, Kerry Hannon, July 03, 2014