After decades of marriage, some couples may begin to feel like they’ve already weathered their worst storms. Unfortunately, insurmountable issues can sneak up on even the most vigilant married couple, and later in life divorces have become more common than ever before. When couples over 50 split up, it’s known as a “gray divorce.” This type of divorce can wreak havoc on your finances, familial relationships, and social life if you’re not careful.
At The Micklin Law Group, we’re encouraged to see that men over 50 who take the time to prepare at the start of their New Jersey gray divorce are much more likely to end up pleased with its outcome. So, if you’re a man over 50 preparing for your divorce, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions.
What type of divorce do I want?
As you prepare to file for divorce, there are several paths available. Do you anticipate a conflict-free divorce where you and your spouse will agree to everything? It may be rare for a gray divorce, but it is possible. If so, consider an e-divorce. It requires minimal involvement from you and your spouse, and you won’t even have to go to court. Just speak with an attorney about your shared wishes, and he will draft all the necessary documents and file them with the court on your behalf.
Most men over 50 will be facing a moderate to high conflict divorce. You’ve accumulated years or decades of marital assets, and both spouses have their own idea of how those should be divided. Don’t fret; a New Jersey gray divorce attorney will still make sure you’re divorced when all is said and done, but your path may have some twists and turns along the way. You may need to consider mediation or litigation depending on the level of conflict between you and your spouse.
How do I envision my financial future?
Before you create a plan of action with an attorney, you need to know what you hope to get out of your divorce. For example, are you planning to retire in just a few years? If so, you should take a long look at your retirement accounts. Your priority may be to preserve them as much as possible.
If you have a business or practice, this self-reflection is absolutely vital. Your business goals and your personal financial goals are now more entwined than ever, and thinking ahead can help you come up with an attainable best case scenario. For example, do you have a long-term goal to sell your business for a profit? Consider broaching this subject with your spouse, so you won’t have to deal with splitting the business up during the divorce. If you both agree to sell, you’ll only have to worry about divvying up the profit.
Am I prepared to give up the little things to reach my goals?
There may not be a way to get everything you want, but we believe there is always a way to get what’s most important to you – if you can be honest with yourself and prioritize realistically. Are you prepared to rise above the little squabbles over silverware or furniture and focus on the big picture?
The heightened emotions both parties feel during a divorce can lead to poor financial decisions and regret later on. To counter this, work on getting yourself into a solution oriented mindset before you even sit down at the table with your spouse and your lawyers to discuss the divorce agreement. You’ll thank yourself later.
What qualities do I want in a gray divorce lawyer?
When you anticipate conflict during your gray divorce, you need to be prepared with a clear understanding of exactly what’s at stake. If you show up to mediation without a plan, how can you be sure you’re standing up for yourself and walking away with a fair shake? An attorney can help you cultivate an understanding of the divorce process and create a list of your financial priorities.
Take some time to think about the qualities you want in a gray divorce lawyer, but be sure to allow yourself some time to find the right attorney for you. If your spouse has already filed for divorce, you have a limited amount of time to choose your attorney and respond to the initial paperwork. Make the most of it by focusing your search on New Jersey lawyers with gray divorce experience. They will be familiar with how state laws affect common issues in gray divorces, including division of substantial assets, spousal support, and child custody.