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Knoxville, Tennessee, couples who have endured or considered a divorce have been forced to face some very challenging realities. From concerns about child support and child custody to complex property division and more, the issues associated with divorce can leave many emotionally, physically, and financially drained.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide divorce rate is approximately 3.6 out of every 1,000 persons. In Tennessee, that number is greater at 4.3 persons per 1,000.

Divorce and the overall financial climate

Divorce can be affected by many economic factors. These include a broad range of family complications such as parents leaving and re-entering the workforce, late marriages that bring with them debt and adult children, shrinking pensions, and new and evolving health care choices. The overall economy undoubtedly plays a large role in the field of domestic relations, and now demands ever-more financial decisions from former spouses who often times cannot agree on whether the house is warm or cold.

When the recession hit a few years ago, the national divorce rate declined. That trend was noted for three (3) consecutive years. During this time, many people claimed that a poor economy was – in some fashion – good for marriage. The belief was that challenging financial times brought people closer together, rather than pull them apart.

However, as the economy has begun to pick up, so too has the divorce rate. University of Maryland sociologist, Philip N. Cohen, has examined the effects of the economy on the United States’ divorce rate and speculates that the recent increase is due in part because people can once again afford to get divorced. He further asserts that the decline in the number of divorces during our last economic recession was not because people grew stronger in their relationships, but rather because couples did not have the financial ability to get divorced. In his report, he hypothesizes that approximately 150,000 divorces were delayed during those three (3) years simply for lack of financial reasons.

Divorce and Age

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 1963 to 2011, the number of people over the age of fifty (50) who are divorced in America rose by over fifteen (15) percent. This trend has often been referred to as “gray divorce.”

Special issues accompany a divorce later in life. One of the greatest concerns is the need to protect important retirement assets when retirement is closest at hand. Proper processing of retirement accounts when divided in a divorce is necessary in order to avoid needless penalties and taxes, both of which can dramatically erode a couple’s savings if not handled sensibly. Understanding how and when to utilize a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or which assets to retain with regard to retirement accounts can have major economic ramifications on divorcing parties if not carefully considered.

Legal help makes the difference

Minimizing financial losses is just one reason to work with a seasoned attorney during a divorce. Many transactions involve time-sensitive processes and unique handling. If not conducted appropriately, the damage done by one misstep can often times increase the overall cost of a divorce unnecessarily.