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Potentially devastating effects of divorce in retirement

Divorce after retirement can pose challenges younger people might not face when they decide to end their marriages. For example, retired Pennsylvania couples likely planned for their retirement savings to provide for them as a couple. If they get divorced, they have to divide the existing funds and either learn to adapt to a new standard of living or go back to work.

It's important for an older spouse who wants to end his or her marriage to get a clear picture of their current and future finances. A financial adviser might be able to help. Retirees may have to divide everything they've accumulated over their lifetime if they choose to get divorced. This could include real estate, pensions, stock options or a family business. A high asset divorce could be quite expensive.

In addition to the costs of financially planning and attorney fees, anyone over 50 that wants to get divorced might need an appraiser to determine the value of all of the marital assets, including a business, real estate, jewelry, artwork and vehicles. Spouses may also have to pay mediation and other fees to the court. If the case ultimately results in litigation, divorcing spouses can expect to pay a lot more to their attorneys.

Older divorcing spouses could work with their attorney to create a plan for the future. Without a detailed plan, divorce could be financially devastating to an older person who doesn't have the option to return to work. When agreeing to a settlement, older spouses need to consider inflation, property taxes, long-term care and other healthcare costs, and also expenses related to adult children or elderly parents.

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