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Does your 'gray divorce' cloud have a silver lining?

If you do a quick scan of the internet when searching for the phrase "gray divorce," you'll find that people tend to focus on the negative side of gray divorce. They talk about the financial hit divorcees will experience when they go their separate ways right before or during retirement, and the loneliness experienced by 50-plus singles who spent most of their adult lives with a spouse by their side. However, it's vital that you keep a positive perspective and look for the silver lining.

There's no reason your divorce is going to be bleak. Older spouses who divorce may feel that whatever financial setbacks they experience are worth it considering their newfound freedom. Single retirees can spend their golden years the way they want, without any concern for an incompatible spouse who has completely different interests. In fact, many spouses wonder why they didn't make the decision to divorce years ago.

Also, for some spouses, there could be some good financial news. If the marriage lasted at least 10 years, and the spouses didn't remarry prior to the age of 60, they can claim Social security benefits off one another's work records. The benefit won't affect the other spouse's benefits, nor will it affect a new spouse's benefits. This could add a little bit more cash to one of the spouse's retirement incomes.

The most important thing for 50-plus spouses to remember when they're divorcing is to have a detailed understanding of their financial assets and marital property. When spouses understand what they have -- and what their marital rights are -- they'll have an easier time navigating their divorce proceedings.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Gray Divorce: The Financial Challenges and Opportunities," Maryalene LaPonsie, accessed May 25, 2018

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