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A divorce late in life for some seniors means that, after many years together, they have grown apart from their spouses and decided to move on alone. While the split may be amicable, both sides need to understand the importance of property division during the divorce. Older couples in California and other states should consult with an attorney and financial consultant to understand the specific rules for dividing assets.

Older couples with a solid, high-earning history often have acquired multiple income yielding accounts. With multiple 401(k)s, annuities, pensions and IRAs, it can be increasingly difficult to divide everything equally. In some cases, couples may decide to trade off assets to avoid cashing in annuities and losing value. People should avoid the temptation of trying to split accounts 50-50. Some accounts are more complex than others and may require a professional.

Some seniors fail to comprehend that their retirement plans will need to be divided and shared with their estranged spouse. Contributions made to 401(k) accounts come from mutual income, so each side is entitled to a share. Pension plans must be assessed to determine the value and may take several months before the plan is divided. Experts recommend waiting until the information is in writing before setting any terms for the division of the plan.

Divorce at any time in life can be difficult for everyone involved. In California, an attorney who has extensive knowledge in property division can make the experience more tolerable. The goal on each side should be to divide all assets so that both parties have a secure retirement and peace of mind for their golden years ahead.