Although there were years of understanding between you and your spouse, you noticed changes in your relationship. These changes were less-than-subtle. Exclusion. Abruptly, you found yourself attending fewer country club-related social functions with your spouse. Cut off. The money, once so readily available to you, shrinks to morsel amounts. Betrayal. Those business trips made by your spouse turned out to be clandestine meetings with his paramour.
The life you have grown accustomed to thanks to your spouse’s high earnings and status in the community is about to come to an end. Now, you will likely find out that your friends were really your spouse’s friends. But his assets were not just his assets. They were your assets, too. You have become accustomed to the lifestyle that comes with being the spouse of a high-wage earner. You sense that divorce is imminent, and, with that, you must protect yourself and fight for what is rightfully yours.
Understand assets and uncover others
Dealing with a divorce often is overwhelming. It can be even more so in gray divorce, in which older and more financially stable couples part ways, sometimes, after decades together. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s for people aged 50 and older. Meanwhile, the divorce rate has tripled since 1990 among people who are 65 years and older.
If you find yourself in such a situation, understand what is at stake, namely the financial life that you once knew. Here are some things to focus on:
- Make careful consideration of your finances and assets: Marital assets are the ones accumulated during the marriage, and they belong to you and your former spouse. This list may include your home, second home, real estate investments, pensions, retirement accounts and priceless collections. Gather all related documents.
- Beware of hidden assets: Your spouse may have hidden more than just goings-on in his or her personal life. He or she also may have secretly stashed away assets. Tax and bank records can disclose hidden assets. And be on the lookout for safe deposit boxes in the home or evidence of their existence elsewhere.
- Anticipate your financial needs: Duplicating your lifestyle while you married is possible or, at least, getting close to it. Advocate for yourself. Maybe you gave up a promising career for marriage. Get what you deserve, and that may include rightful alimony.
Whether your marriage succumbed to a gradual or abrupt parting of ways, you must look out for yourself. Your longtime and comfortable union has come to an end. Replace the heartache and uncertainty with knowledge on how to protect yourself.