Divorcing couples vary greatly in their circumstances. This includes in how long they’ve been married. Some couples end up entering a divorce after decades of being married. This is a situation many divorces of older couples, sometimes referred to as gray divorces, can involve.

Special issues can come up in connection to gray divorces involving couples who were together for a long time. This includes issues related to preparing for divorce proceedings.

One preparation that can be important for any divorcing individual, whatever their age and however long their marriage was, is to have a firm understanding of their finances and the overall financial make-up of the marital estate. This is because, when fighting for a fair division of property, having the full financial picture can be critical.

Now, there can be some special challenges when it comes to getting this full picture for individuals who are divorcing a long-time spouse.

One is that there may have been a lot of different kinds of assets acquired and a lot of time for a couple’s finances to become increasingly complex over the course of a long marriage. So, sorting through all the different financial documents and information related to the marriage can be an intimidating task for an individual who is getting divorced after such a marriage.

Also, there can be some challenges in determining how valuable different assets would actually be to them. This is because individuals getting divorced after a long marriage can be in a very different life situation than they would have been in had they gotten divorced earlier. For example, they could be approaching retirement or already be on a fixed income. Their unique situation could have impacts on what assets would serve them best in their post-divorce life.

As this illustrates, different divorce situations can pose different challenges when it comes to preparing for a divorce. Divorce attorneys can help individuals address the divorce preparation difficulties, including any difficulties regarding getting a clear understanding of the financial issues in the divorce, particular to their circumstances.

Source: MarketWatch, “Divorcing after being married for decades? Here’s what to do,” Alessandra Malito, Dec. 17, 2016