In the past couple of decades divorce rates have held steady. For one segment of the population, however, these rates have exploded. Couples over 50 years of age are actually seeing an increase in divorce rates; from 1990 to 2010 the divorce rate for people over 50 nearly doubled.1 The increasing frequency of divorce among older couples has even led to a new nickname: “gray divorce.”
Divorce is never a fun process, but for women over 50 it can be particularly devastating. That’s especially true for women who’ve sacrificed their careers to support their husbands. If you are going through—or think you may have to go through—a gray divorce, below are three tips to help you through this challenging period:
Get as much information as possible.
While both parties in a divorce are supposed to bring all their financial documents to the table, it’s not uncommon for one party to try to hide assets. A good practice is to gather as many years of tax returns as possible. A tax return can reveal substantial information about income sources, assets, debts and more.
It also may be a good idea to make your own copies of financial statements and of the family hard drive, and to use your smartphone to document high-value objects you own. That way you will have a record of all assets that are up for negotiation.
High net worth couples may also consider hiring a forensic accountant. This will help ensure that you’ve uncovered all the assets to which you are entitled.
Be objective about future needs.
The family home, certain pieces of furniture or other pieces of property may have sentimental value for you. However, they may not be the most helpful assets to take from the divorce. Some women will fight for the family home when what they really need is a share of their husband’s 401(k). As a result, they end up selling the home anyway to raise cash.
Try to stay objective about your future needs. Emotional attachment is important, but it shouldn’t trump financial reality. Some assets with emotional value, like a home, actually cause more harm than good as they also bring expenses like taxes and the cost of upkeep.
Plan your future lifestyle.
Life after marriage can be difficult to imagine, particularly if you’re in your 50s. It is still vital that you plan for the kind of life you want after divorce. You may want to spend some time developing a budget and projected income. With some careful planning, you can make better decisions about the assets you need and how you can stay financially comfortable after marriage.
Ready to start planning your new life? Contact us at Coventry Financial. We can help you evaluate your objectives and needs, and then develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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