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Late-in-life divorce may involve asset division, spousal support

The dissolution of marriage after age 55 is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, going through divorce later in life can be tricky, as those getting divorced may have more assets to divide and less time to recoup their divorce-related financial losses before the retirement years arrive. Here are a couple of tips designed to help people navigating late-in-life divorces in the Bay Area.

First, any assets that the two individuals earned while married must be split 50/50, as California is a community property state. Any item earned before the marriage date, however, is deemed separate property and thus is not subject to property division. In addition, any retirement asset can be split tax-free with a court order.

Second, spousal support may be awarded as part of a divorce proceeding. Lifetime support is awarded in certain cases, but for the most part, divorcing individuals can expect to pay or receive spousal support for limited amounts of time, according to how long they were married. Courts usually require this support to end once the person receiving it reaches the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits.

An attorney in the Bay Area can guide an individual through all phases of a divorce process that happens later in life. This includes helping him or her to file for divorce and then address matters like spousal maintenance at the negotiation table, for example. If certain issues cannot be resolved through out-of-court processes like negotiation or mediation, then the attorney will be ready to take these issues to court, keeping the client's best interests at the center of the proceeding.

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