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Special considerations for people divorcing after 50

Our readers have likely heard the statistic that the divorce rate among couples in their 50s and older is increasing. If you are 50 or older, you need to consider a number of things younger people don't have to worry about when they divorce in order to help protect your financial security as a newly-single person.

Retirement savings is a crucial consideration. You and your spouse likely have IRAs, 401(k)s and/or pensions. One or both of you may have already started collecting Social Security or military benefits. That's why it's essential that you have an experienced Florida family law attorney who can advise you on ways to ensure that you don't lose the money that you've been counting on to live comfortably during your retirement years. It may be worthwhile to hire a financial advisor as well.

You likely have less time left in the workforce, assuming that you're not already retired, than younger people do to make up for a settlement that isn't in your favor. That's why those retirement funds need to be a major focus of your divorce settlement.

Many older women who divorce haven't been in the workforce, at least full time, for many years. Therefore, getting a job at this stage of life that can support them can be extremely challenging. Your spousal support should take that factor into consideration.

On average, the household income and assets for women who divorce after 50 drop by more than 40 percent. For men, the drop in income isn't as great, but the drop in asset value is nearly the same as it is for women. That can make for a big change in lifestyle.

There are things you can do to help adjust to your new financial reality after divorce. For example:

-- Once your retirement accounts are sorted out, increase your IRA and 401(k) contributions as much as possible. If you're 50 or older, you can take advantage of the IRS's allowances for "catch-up" contributions.-- Downsize your living situation. With children grown and out of the house, many divorcing couples take this opportunity to sell their family residence and downsize to something smaller, less expensive and easier to manage.

Your Florida family law attorney can work to help you protect your financial future as you embark on this new phase of your life.

Source: TIME, "Don’t Let Divorce Derail Your Retirement," Carla Fried, accessed April 29, 2016

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