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Gray divorce: Sometimes surprising

As someone who is 50 or older and considering divorce, you may wonder what it would do to you financially. You're part of a group of people known as "gray divorcees," and you could end up facing financial ruin if you're not cautious when you separate.

It's a fact that around 56 percent of married women rely on their spouses to make decisions about financial planning and investing. That could mean that they don't fully understand what could happen if they divorce, because they aren't fully aware of what they could lose.

With a spouse who knows more about the finances than you do, it's absolutely vital to work with someone familiar with finances and the law. Divorcees often find that financial factors have a negative effect when they separate, particularly if they were not aware of their financial standing prior to divorce. One of the most common problems divorcees discovered was hidden debt, hidden accounts and hidden spending, all of which could lead to unwanted debt and financial ruin.

In your case, you may be finding out more and more about hidden assets or debts you never knew you had in your marriage. It's important to discuss those findings with your attorney to find out if you can be held liable for them. There may be ways to settle debts or to make your spouse cover them if you did not know they existed or if your name was used to take out debts fraudulently. Gray divorce is hard enough, but if there are surprises, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Rise of 'gray' divorce is forcing a financial reckoning after 50," Suzanne Woolley Bloomberg, April 21, 2018

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