Divorce rate amongst baby boomers continues to rise

If you are baby boomer considering divorce, you are not alone. Over 600,000 people over the age of 50 divorced in 2009 alone, doubling the rate of divorce within this age group.

There are many potential reasons for the increase, including what sociologists are calling a shift in how Americans view marriage. A report in The Wall Street Journal states that the boomer generation views marriage much differently than past generations. Previous generations focused ion fulfilling their marital role, while this group focuses on individual happiness. This "individualized" phase of the American view on marriage may be behind the increase in divorce rates among boomers.

Regardless of the reason behind the increase, it is clear that more individuals over the age of fifty are divorcing than ever before. Those that find themselves a part of this growing group should keep the following in mind.

Tips for divorcing boomers

Divorcing when over the age of fifty is much different than divorcing before the age of thirty. Individuals within this group have had decades to build up assets, investments and may have children and grandchildren to consider. Although custody issues are not often involved, the division of marital assets in these proceedings can be extremely complicated.

Although many financial areas need to be considered during a divorce determination, some of the top areas within this age group include:

  • Retirement funds
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance plans

There are various retirement funds that may be split during the property division phase of a divorce proceeding. If a pension plan is divided, a qualified domestic relations order will likely be needed. This court order, also referred to as QDRO, instructs the pension plan administrator on how to divide the plan benefits. This document is important, without it the funds that are used to make payments may be subject to penalties.

Once the divorce is finalized, it is also important to take time to review any existing estate planning documents. Change the beneficiaries in a will to ensure that an ex-spouse or other unintended beneficiary does not receive the assets in the event of death. Also, make sure any beneficiary designations on insurance plans, like life insurance policies, are updated.

In addition to changing designations on life insurance plans, review insurance coverage. Couples often receive disability, dental, vision and health insurance coverage through one spouse's employment. If these policies end with the divorce, find new coverage.

Navigating through a divorce proceeding can be difficult. Ensuring that the proceeding sets you up for financial security after the divorce is finalized can be even more intimidating. If you are considering a divorce or have recently filed paperwork, contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights are protected.