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Property division may be more complicated in gray divorce

No matter how old or young a married individual may be, getting divorced can be financially complicated. However, dealing with divorce issues such as property division in Pennsylvania can be particularly complex for those over the age of 49. Here is a glimpse at a couple of items that specifically affect those who are going through a gray divorce, or a divorce in their later years.

The first item is Social Security benefits. If a woman, for example, was married for a decade before getting divorced, she can pursue Social Security benefits based on her ex-spouse's record, as long as he is allowed to receive Social Security. The woman must be at least 62 to receive benefits, however. In addition, her own benefit amount would have to be less than what she could receive based on her ex's record.

The second important item is a pension. Although pensions are not as common today among younger workers, they may still be major assets among those who are going through gray divorces. Therefore, couples who are getting divorced will need to notify their plan administrator of their divorce, at which point, the administrator will explain to them their plan structure and plan division options. Before a spouse can get a portion of the pension plan, an attorney will need to produce a legal document called a qualified domestic relations order, or a QDRO.

If two spouses are getting divorced later in life but can find common ground in the areas of property division, alimony and other relevant divorce issues, they can settle their divorce out of court and thus avoid further court intrusion. This is not always possible, however, in which case, the two spouses must go to trial. In either situation, an attorney in Pennsylvania can help a divorcing spouse to seek an outcome that is in his or her best interests long term.

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