When married couples reach their 50s, many assume they've cemented a lifelong relationship, but according to a study by the National Center for Family and Marriage at Bowling Green University, one in four Americans over the age of 50 is getting divorced.
"There's a point when the kids go off to college and there's the empty nest. Some couples take that opportunity to move closer together, and others, who've been bound by their children, take that opportunity to leave each other," said financial planner Austin Frye.
Frye said things can get complicated when 50-plus singles enter into new relationships.
"Each partner has different expectations, and they are never the same," he said.
Frye said many in this age group prefer to live together, rather than marry.
"If that's the case, they need to figure out how to handle their assets and their money. They need to ask, 'Whose house are we moving in to? Who's going to pay the electric and the food? What if I want to buy a dress and he wants to buy an automobile? Who's paying for what?'" said Frye.
It's also important to spell out who gets what during the relationship and what happens if either partner dies.
"I will often sit down with clients and draft a cohabitation agreement to spell everything out," said Frye.
Any money going to children should be left in trust, and if a cohabitating couple decides to get married, Frye said a prenuptial agreement is a must.
"This is especially important in this age range because either partner may have amassed significant assets that they want to protect or direct," said Frye.
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