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Property division and divorce among older adults

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Over the past several years, divorce has been on the rise for people over 50. Some older couples in Georgia who get a divorce may have complicated finances that make the process of property division complex. For example, more and more people are investing in annuities, but these can present problems when it is necessary to divide them in a divorce. They all have different types of rules and can lose value when split, so some couples opt instead for one person to keep the annuity and the other person to take a different asset.

Certain rules must also be followed when dividing retirement accounts. Most pension plans include specific instructions for what must be done if they are divided. Furthermore, both pension plans and 401(k)s require a document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. For an IRA, a QDRO is not needed, but both 401(k)s and IRAs can be rolled into another IRA in order to avoid taxes or penalties.

Because of these complexities, some older couples prefer to pursue a collaborative divorce, in which they have the advice of both financial advisers and attorneys. The aim is to work toward a solution that suits both parties based on their goals and needs. For example, one may be more concerned about retirement while the other may want cash in hand.

Additional factors such as a family business can make this process more difficult. A couple may need to decide whether they want to sell the business, if one will buy the other out or if they will continue to run it after the divorce. This may need to be appraised before the process of property division can continue. Mediation may also help couples resolve conflicts that are making this process difficult.

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