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According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, the divorce rate for couples over age 50 has nearly doubled during the past 20 years. Divorce at any age is complicated, but for individuals divorcing later in life, the financial aspects of separation can be much more complex.

New Jersey is an equitable-distribution state, meaning that the marital property is not split exactly in half, but instead, property is divided in a fair, but not necessarily equal manner. Not only do couples that divorce later in life have more time to accumulate assets and debts, but typically, they are also planning for retirement and learning to live on fixed incomes. Thus, sorting through the division of marital property with retirement on the horizon can be extremely difficult because of the additional factors that must be considered.

Certain assets, such as your home, can provide additional benefits later in life in addition to its monetary value. For example, if you receive the house in the divorce settlement, you may receive additional tax benefits, become eligible for real estate property tax exemptions and waivers after a certain age, and you will become eligible for a reverse mortgage at age 62. These factors can have enormous benefits for a retired person.

Also, if one spouse is faced with serious health problems, it can influence how the marital property is divided. It can also influence whether one spouse needs alimony, especially if that spouse's earning potential is limited and there are not sufficient assets to live on.

Lastly, access to pensions, retirement plans, and Social Security benefits can also further complicate the division of assets and any decision to award alimony.

As with all divorces, the terms of the settlement depend on your particular circumstances. If you are contemplating or facing divorce later in life, an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney can help you plan for your needs and goals during your divorce proceedings.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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Morristown, NJ 07960

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