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Important things for seniors to know before filing for divorce

Senior Citizens ending a marriage, or obtaining the so-called "gray divorce," is no longer a decision that raises eyebrows in America. A study has shown that divorce rates for people older than 50 has doubled in the last 20 years. However, older Arizona couples need to take note of a few important things before calling it quits.

While younger couples must settle for temporary agreements to provide spousal support to their ex-partners, the situation is completely different for couples who have been in long-term marriages. In many states, family courts grant alimony for life to older spouses.

An older couple might be secure with the amount of retirement savings or pension funds they have, but experts say courts are likely to order equitable division of retirement savings and other assets, no matter what the reason for the divorce.

Giving up a house can take an emotional toll, especially for older women. However, if a spouse is keeping the house, the court may provide an equal assent to the other spouse to balance the division. Bear in mind that a marital home comes with property tax, maintenance expenses and others costs that can drain existing financial resources.

Child support and visitation rights are usually not contentious issues for older divorcing couples. However, this does not mean that adult children are completely neglected during divorce proceedings. Many older parents may be giving financial support to their adult children at the time of divorce.

Controlling emotions may be difficult, especially after many years of marriage, often decades of marriage, so it is important to have polite a discussions about future plans, financial needs and favorite possessions. However, a spouse does not have to give away all for the sake of peace but amicable negotiations will help divorce proceedings go smoothly.

There is no harm in making new friends, but experts recommend spouses that dating be avoided until a divorce is final. Sometimes ex-spouses feel alone after divorce and do not want to be isolated. However dating before a final divorce decree can upset children and the soon-to-be-ex spouse, adding time and money to your divorce proceedings.

Source: U.S. News, "7 Things to Know about Divorcing during Your Senior Years," Maryalene LaPonsie, Accessed on Apr. 25, 2015

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