In North Carolina and across the United States, married couples may divorce because they experience unrelenting financial difficulties. A recent study showed that 13% of divorced couples with outstanding student loans blamed the debt for causing their divorces. Furthermore, divorce often means that each spouse must forge their way through life without the benefit of joined funds. In particular, a gray divorce occurring after many years of marriage can lead to devastating financial results, especially for women.
Gray divorces are on the rise. Couples in their 50s are twice as likely to file for divorce than in 1990. The National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau reveal that current divorces triple for married couples who are 65 years of age and older. For an older couple, the end of a marriage involves gathering together financial documents. Each spouse should take the time to update their beneficiary designations on all investments, including mutual fund holdings and savings accounts.
Some people facing divorce may want to designate other beneficiaries instead of their spouses. Each spouse should obtain pertinent information about all financial accounts owned individually or as a couple. An older person contemplating divorce should compile a list that includes usernames and passwords used to access online accounts. People should think about any tax consequences before selling stocks or other investments. Spouses may wish to close out their joint holdings and establish new accounts as separate individuals.
Asking a financial institution to freeze a joint account is another way to protect financial assets. Spousal support, commonly known as alimony, is an issue to consider, especially if the couple has been married for several years. Since each divorce is unique, consulting with a family law attorney may help clarify any questions, especially in a high-asset divorce.