More and more people in Minnesota and across the country choose to get divorced at later ages. While the divorce rate for all ages and demographics has remained flat or even declined, the rate among Americans over the age of 50 has doubled in the past two decades. There is a number of attributes that can distinguish these so-called “gray divorces” from their younger counterparts. In general, child support and child custody are not at issue, and many divorces among older people are quieter and more amicable.

The financial aspects of later-in-life divorces can differentiate them as well. Many couples have accumulated significant wealth over their years together, and the complicated mix of investments and properties can lead to a high-asset divorce. In addition, retirement funds are often some of the largest assets in a divorce at any age, but they can be particularly critical for people who choose to divorce at or close to retirement age. While there may be disputes about how these funds should be divided, the process can be complex even when both parties reach an agreement about the distribution of the accounts.

When people divide 401(k) plans or pension plans, there can be major financial consequences if they fail to follow proper procedure. Account holders could be assessed for significant tax bills or costly fines. In order to divide this kind of account for a qualified plan, a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, is necessary. A QDRO is a court order submitted to the administrator of the plan in order to transfer the agreed-upon portion.

Dealing with property division in a high-asset divorce can be complex and difficult. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to advocate for his or her best interests, protect key assets and achieve a fair settlement when dividing retirement funds and other property.