Individuals over the age of 50 and approaching retirement may begin to consider their options for a major lifestyle change. The rate for couples choosing to go ahead with a “gray” divorce has increased twofold since the 1990s, based on studies conducted by the Pew Research Center. 

Some couples may decide that dissolving a long-term marriage allows each individual to pursue his or her own goals without any restrictions. Financing a newly single lifestyle, however, may require dividing a variety of assets during a divorce proceeding. 

Illinois divides a couple’s property under its equitable distribution system. As reported by Reader’s Digest, the court divides everything by what it considers fair or “equitable.” From the family court’s viewpoint, all properties and assets obtained during a marriage belong to both individuals, but they should not expect an equal or 50-50 division. 

Splitting property between two spouses 

Some factors a judge considers when determining how to split property fairly include each spouse’s age, health and ability to generate income. An individual who will rely upon financial support or alimony may decide that selling property and splitting the proceeds is fairer. Negotiating the sale of properties and splitting proceeds between two ex-spouses may, however, require several discussions before finalizing a divorce through the court. 

Requesting a payout from a retirement plan 

Some individuals may need to determine how to “cash-out” from a spouse’s employer-sponsored retirement plan. An individual has the right to a portion of a working spouse’s pension plan including a 401(k). As reported by Kiplinger magazine, federal law requires that a spouse request a qualified domestic relations order from an employer during the divorce procedure. An individual may request a percentage of the plan or a set dollar amount of a spouse’s workplace retirement fund.