Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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What to expect in divorce of a long-term marriage

Divorce after a long-term marriage is no easy task, but many baby boomer couples are choosing divorce over unhappy marriages. In fact, divorce for people over age 50 has doubled since the 1990s. Couples realize that they have decades ahead of them. Why spend that time in a toxic marriage?

Divorce after 20, 30 or 40 years will be difficult. Spouses in long-term marriages often divide tasks and get good at them. Once the marriage is over, each spouse must learn new skills. It is important to be prepared for what happens in the dissolution of a long-term marriage.

Financial considerations

One partner often handles finances in a marriage. Did your spouse pay all of the bills? If so, then consider how you will manage finances after divorce. Research online or ask a friend to learn more about social security, pensions, insurance and utility bills. Get started with a post-divorce budget. Clearly identify your debts and assets.

Splitting joint assets after a long marriage will be complicated. It is important that your attorney has experience handling complex divorce and asset division. They will protect your interests.

Post-divorce living arrangements

Consider what living arrangements will look like post-divorce. Will you keep the house? If so, then consider if the size of the house is practical for you. Will you be able to afford the mortgage or is it paid off? Let's say the family home was paid off five years ago. The house is considered joint property, meaning that your spouse owns half. You will need to offer something else equally as valuable to your spouse in divorce proceedings.

Retirement funds are the most important asset for a majority of older couples. It is likely that your retirement accounts will be evenly split. You may feel tempted to give up retirement funds to keep the house. Speaking with a financial adviser or experienced attorney can help you make informed decisions.

Will alimony be awarded?

In divorce proceedings, the court may grant rehabilitative or permanent alimony to either party. This is especially common in divorce of long-term marriages. When determining the correct amount of alimony, the court will consider factors such as the financial resources of both parties, contribution to the marriage, standard of living established during marriage and more.

The good thing is that the kids are older now and you do not need to worry about disrupting their daily life in divorce. Eliminating child custody and visitation issues will remove a lot of stress from the divorce process. However, some older parents still support their adult children, especially if they have disabilities. This, among the issues discussed above, are just some of the topics to talk about with your lawyer.

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