Blogs from April, 2024

Most Recent Posts from April, 2024

Divorcing Post-Retirement in Iowa: What You Should Know


The Unique Nature of Post-Retirement Divorce

Divorcing after decades of marriage or post-retirement is often labeled as “gray divorce,” and it's on the rise. While ending a long-standing marriage is never easy, retirees face specific hurdles that differ significantly from younger couples, especially regarding financial matters.

Several factors that might significantly impact those divorcing post-retirement include:

  • Healthcare costs: The loss of a spouse's health insurance coverage can be significant, especially before Medicare eligibility kicks in.
  • Long-term care needs: The division of assets could affect each party's ability to afford long-term care, should it become necessary.
  • Living arrangements: Divorce can complicate key decisions and raise new issues, such as who keeps the family home, whether downsizing is necessary, and if moving into assisted living is a viable option as care needs increase.

Understanding how your divorce experience might differ from someone in their 20s or 30s is critical for couples considering divorce post-retirement. Thinking about these factors early on can help mitigate adverse outcomes during the divorce process.

Handling Retirement Accounts & Pensions in Iowa

In the Hawkeye State, just like anywhere, retirement accounts and pensions often represent a couple’s most substantial assets. Understanding how these are divided can help both parties maintain financial stability.

Key points to know about dividing retirement accounts:

  • Equitable distribution: Iowa follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that marital assets are divided fairly, but not always equally, between spouses.
  • Retirement investments and earnings as jointly-held property: Generally, retirement investments and earnings accrued during the marriage are considered shared property. This means that both parties have a claim to these assets in a divorce, regardless of whose name is on the account.
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): This legal document is often required to divide the assets in a retirement plan without triggering tax penalties. It must specify the percentage or amount of the benefit to be paid to the non-participating spouse.

The Value of Working with a Divorce Attorney for Retirees

Navigating a post-retirement divorce can be complex, with significant implications for your future welfare and happiness. While it might seem like an additional expense during a financially uncertain time, engaging a skilled divorce attorney, like ours at The Law Office of Mark R Hinshaw, can be particularly beneficial for retirees.

Your attorney can assist in several ways, including:

  • Using their knowledge of state divorce and property laws to help you understand the process, your options, and your rights.
  • Guidance informed by experience handling property division cases involving retirement accounts, real estate, and personal property.
  • Negotiating on your behalf, both in and out of the courtroom.

Finding the Right Attorney

When searching for a divorce attorney, especially in the context of a retiree divorce, it's crucial to prioritize certain qualities. Experience with retiree divorce stands out as a chief consideration; not all attorneys are familiar with the unique challenges and intricacies of dissolving a marriage later in life. Additionally, recommendations and reviews are invaluable. Look for an attorney who comes highly recommended by past clients, particularly those who have faced situations akin to yours.

While the process may seem daunting, working with a qualified divorce attorney can provide the guidance and support you need.

For retirees in Iowa considering divorce, remember:

  • Carefully consider the implications of dividing retirement and pension accounts.
  • Understand that the law aims for fair, though not necessarily equal, distribution of assets.
  • Prioritize finding a seasoned divorce attorney who has handled gray divorces before.

Divorce at any age is hard, but we are here to help. Contact us online to schedule a consultation today.