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Important divorce considerations for the boomer generation

If a couple divorces at age 60, their divorce settlement, property agreement, and all other details will most certainly look much different than if they had divorced when they were 30. At an earlier age, divorce settlements often revolve around child custody, child support, real estate, and splitting common debt. At age 60, when couples are generally more financially established, their divorce is more likely to hinge on alimony, retirement accounts, and Social Security.

Therefore, there are many important facts and considerations that members of the baby boomer generation will want to keep in mind if they are contemplating a divorce.

First, a few facts about alimony. The court will determine alimony by examining each spouse's earning potential and standard of living, also taking into account factors such as the length of marriage and the couple's lifestyle. If a couple was married for several years with disparate incomes, the court is likely to award alimony to the lower-earning spouse to keep him or her at the standard of living to which he or she is accustomed.

Second, retirement funds and assets are typically divided in divorce if the parties were married for much of their working years, regardless of which spouse put more into retirement accounts. If one or both spouses have a defined benefit pension plan, the attorneys will draw up a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that will award a portion of that pension benefit to the other spouse at retirement. In addition, a QDRO may be used to divide up 401(k) plans at a later date.

Third, former spouses can qualify for Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse's earnings, but only if certain criteria are met. A Las Vegas family law attorney can help couples determine whether they qualify for these benefits.

Source: Fox Business, "How Boomers Can Protect Assets in a Divorce," Casey Dowd, 23 June 2011

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