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Unfair divorce settlement could affect seniors well into retirement

In one of our posts from March, we discussed the upward trend of divorce among baby boomers and how separating seniors may have complex property division concerns. Dividing matrimonial property may be particularly complicated if either party has gone through a prior divorce or brought children into the marriage.

A recent report on bankruptcy filings among seniors in Ontario underscores the importance of reaching a fair settlement in terms of property division at divorce. While the law states that matrimonial property should be divided equally between the spouses, the equalization of property can be very complex. Without the right legal guidance, an unfair agreement could affect your economic situation well into retirement.

According to the report, a growing proportion of people filing for bankruptcy in Ontario are seniors. Of the 6,000 insolvency filings that were analyzed, 30 per cent were filed by debtors who were aged 50 or older. That percentage represents a 3 per cent increase over the last two years.

Credit card debt was cited as the most common cause of insolvency among seniors, but payday loans were also a problem. Debtors who were 50 or older and who filed for insolvency had on average $68,677 in unsecured debt, and those who were over age 60 had more than $69,000 in unsecured debt.

Individuals who retire with debt may face a particularly rough road ahead. If you are going through divorce at an older age — or, really, at any age — it is important that your financial interests are protected. Speak with an experienced property division lawyer about obtaining an accurate valuation of assets and debts, and reaching a fair equalization of property. 

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