If you and your spouse are over the age of 50 and facing divorce, you may have significant assets given your many years of marriage.
You may dread the property division phase of the divorce assuming it will be lengthy and complex. Here are five tips to help you approach the process with greater confidence.
1. Gather documents and make lists
Getting organized ahead of property division takes time, but it will benefit you during that process and beyond. Collect your banking information, credit card statements, car registration, loan documents, real estate deeds, investment accounts and tax returns. To this list of items, add your household expenses such as your mortgage payment and what you spend for such items as food, clothing, utilities and transportation. Your attorney will need a copy of everything but keep a copy for yourself.
2. Understand the financial picture
Perhaps your spouse managed the financial side of your marriage. If so, now is the time to learn all you can about your current finances including your retirement accounts, which are about to undergo a split. Knowledge like this will prevent you from having to deal with any surprises relative to property division.
3. Anticipate a lifestyle change
Your marital financial planning was for the expenses of one household, whereas there will soon be two. Your lifestyle will change. You may have to downsize and learn to live on less. Use the financial information you gathered to help develop a new budget.
4. Consider divorce options
Litigation is not your only divorce option. Consider the advantages of mediation or collaborative divorce.
5. Seek professional help
You may wish to add professionals such as an accountant or financial planner to your legal team. The more information and support you have, the easier it will be to navigate property division.