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Money matters: Complications in gray divorce

As relationships change, concerns evolve. In the early stages of romance, couples often spend a lot of time deciding on which restaurants to visit, movies to see and when to introduce the new love interest to family. When an older couple becomes serious about a relationship, there are often additional issues to talk through that typically don't concern couples in their 20s or 30s.

Discussions of finances can help older couples resolve potential differences on money matters and also work out concerns they might have about marriage and divorce involving significant assets.

A recent article on so-called gray divorce pointed out that it makes sense for older couples to have in-depth talks about splitting expenses, future health care needs, heirs and investments.

Retirement income researcher Wade Pfau said many older couples incorrectly assume that spending will decrease as people age. Pfau is the author of the newly released book, “How Much Can I Spend in Retirement?”

He said a J.P. Morgan Asset Management study of households headed by people 55 and older shows that people tend to fall into one of three main categories: frugal, free spenders and those with special health care issues that require significant spending.

Thirty-nine percent of those households fall into the frugal category, while another 29 percent are free spenders. Five percent don't fall into either category because of special medical issues and expenses.

Pfau’s book has thought-provoking scenarios to consider. For example, if you have skimped and saved throughout your life, despite having the means to splurge, how will you feel if your new spouse insists on nothing but the fanciest and priciest?

It makes sense for both halves of an couple to look carefully at money matters before leaping into a second marriage -- and potential divorce.

An experienced family law attorney helps you protect your rights and interests in property division disputes and in creation of prenuptial agreements.

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