As Divorce Rates Rise for Those Over 50, Experts Advise on Avoiding Financial Disaster

Orange County, CA (Law Firm Newswire) December 31, 2014 - Recently, the divorce of an older Midwestern couple made headlines as the spouses waged a high-profile legal battle in court over a multi-billion dollar fortune amassed during a 26-year marriage.

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But that case is an anomaly. As the divorce level rises among couples over 50, experts suggest that the only ones getting rich are the divorce attorneys. 

An article in AARP pointed out that in 2010, the divorce industry made $50 billion, while many of those getting divorced ended up in financial difficulty. Maria Cognetti, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told AARP that older couples should try to settle their financial agreements out of court.

“If older couples can reach an agreement outside of court, they should,” agreed Gerald Maggio, a divorce mediator in Orange County, California. “Once the process turns to litigation, retirement assets that took a lifetime to build can end up being needed to pay lawyers and court fees.”

Instead, Maggio suggests, older couples can achieve better outcomes while saving money by turning to different kinds of divorce professionals.

One such professional is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), who can help spouses understand their financial options as they move forward with the divorce. As AARP suggests, older couples need to consider retirement accounts, social security benefits and spousal support.

Once the financial picture is clear, experts agree that older couples can save money - and perhaps their retirement accounts - by choosing a divorce process other than traditional litigated divorce. The most cost-effective option, frequently, is divorce mediation, in which both spouses work with a single mediator to create a settlement agreement. Often, divorce mediation can be done for a flat fee.

The other option is collaborative divorce, where each spouse retains an attorney but agrees to settle all issues out of court.

“Twenty years ago, divorcing couples did not have many other options than to go before a judge,” commented Maggio. “Today, all couples can take control of the process and the cost of it. Divorce does not have to spell financial disaster.”

California Divorce Mediators
Main Office
420 Exchange
Suite 270-B
Irvine, CA 92602
Call: (949) 553-0911

Riverside Office
3750 University Avenue, Suite 670
Riverside, CA 92501
Call: (949) 553-0911

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