Older adults in California who are getting a divorce may be facing big changes in their plans for retirement. Their financial situations may be more complicated than that of younger couples, and they have fewer years in the workforce ahead of them to recover financially. Some may already be retired.
These individuals will need to plan carefully to ensure financial stability after divorce. This planning should begin with a thorough accounting of all assets and debts. People should also make sure to identify inheritances and other property that may be considered separate. Art, antiques, jewelry and other physical assets might need to be appraised. If the divorce is a high-conflict one, individuals may need to take steps to guard against a spouse hiding assets.
With an understanding of what assets are available, people can begin to think about what they will need in the divorce settlement. First, they should think about how their lives will change after the divorce. For example, some people may decide they want to spend their retirement traveling. Another consideration for some may be how much support they want to be able to provide for their children or grandchildren. After the divorce, there will probably be some additional paperwork to complete, including revising estate plans, changing ownership on accounts and property titles and getting new insurance.
California is a community property state, and this means that shared property is supposed to be divided equally, but in practice, people may work out creative solutions that suit them based on such factors as their retirement plans and how much liquidity they will need. In a high-asset divorce, the process of property division may be particularly complex. For example, couples who own a business may need to decide whether one or both individuals want to keep an interest in it after divorce and past retirement age.