Many men in their fifties, sixties, and beyond come to our law firm concerned about an impending divorce. “My wife wants to separate,” they say, “but I can’t begin to imagine how a divorce will look at my age.”
Getting a divorce later in life can be mentally, emotionally, and financially taxing. A young divorcing couple just hasn’t gone through the trials and tribulations that come with 20+ years of marriage. Older couples probably have more substantial assets, and they’ll need to consider how divorce may affect their retirement.
I understand why men over 50 are concerned about making the wrong move when there is so much on the line. If you’re facing a gray divorce, here are three mistakes you should avoid.
Being Too Generous
You’ve been with your spouse for decades at this point, and you’ve probably built a life together even though things weren’t always easy. If the divorce was unanticipated, or if it was a sudden decision, you may still have a lot of love for your spouse. You may be tempted to give her whatever she wants so you can prove you’re a generous person, or you may hope your cooperation will cause your spouse to change her mind. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to happen just because you agree to all her terms. Remember that you have to look out for yourself. You’re probably nearing retirement (or may already be retired), and you have as much of a right as your spouse to enter this next phase of your life with comfortable finances.
Nitpicking the Divorce Agreement
Maybe you’re not worried about being overly amicable in the divorce – in fact, you’re feeling the exact opposite. Your high conflict gray divorce has been in the works for some time, and neither you nor your wife want to cede any of your most valuable marital assets. It’s totally understandable, especially when you’ve worked so hard to support your lifestyle. However, this attitude won’t help you resolve the divorce quickly, and it will end up costing you both time and money. The best way to ensure you feel heard while also being willing to compromise is by hiring an attorney who is experienced in this type of divorce. Your gray divorce lawyer should patiently listen to your concerns about your spouse’s proposed terms and advise you on whether it may be in your best interest to let certain assets go.
Only Focusing On the Short-Term
You would think high-asset gray divorces in New Jersey are easier because there are plenty of assets to go around. The opposite is generally true. Both spouses who are used to a high-asset lifestyle will want to maintain their current quality of life after divorce, which means both will be fighting for the same assets. However, these assets might not fit into a strategic plan for long-term financial wellness.
We often see these couples hung up on the vacation home or the boat because they are used to having those luxuries in their day-to-day life. Here’s why that may not be in your best interest long-term. These pieces of property may be expensive to maintain from the moment your divorce is finalized, which will derail your attempts to quickly rebuild your finances and balance your budget. This may have a huge impact on how your finances look down the road. By focusing on more liquid assets, you’ll be able to save on upfront costs and buy a new boat when you’re ready. So if she wants to fight over it, let your wife have the beach house! You can buy your own soon enough, and you won’t be paying extra bills in the meantime.