When you have been married for a very long time, divorce can be a drastic change for you and your entire family. It can be challenging to go from being partnered to living solo after a long-lasting marriage. Yet for many spouses who divorce after decades of marriage, the divorce has been a long time coming. You may have felt that your marriage was no longer working out years ago, but delayed your divorce for a number of reasons. Some spouses wait until their children have flown the coop, or spend years separated without actually ending the marriage.
There are specialized divorce concerns for older adults leaving long-term marriages. Everything from working out alimony to dividing substantial marital assets and untangling complex financial situations can be a little different. It is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney when you are seeking to end a lengthy marriage.
Things to Think About When You Are Ending a Long Marriage
In a long-term marriage, you and your spouse likely settled into a pattern of life that is now changing. Some special concerns you should be aware of include:
Marital property – Spouses who have only been married for a short time typically still have a lot of separate property – things they already owned when entering the marriage. This is not the case for long-married spouses. It is likely that nearly everything you own is marital property.
Retirement accounts – Contributions made to a retirement account by either party during the marriage are marital property, regardless of whose income was used. You will most likely need to split your retirement savings using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
Alimony – If you were in a traditional marriage where one spouse worked for pay while the other worked in the home, it is very likely that the nonworking spouse will be entitled to spousal maintenance. Health insurance may also be a big issue for homemaking spouses.
Residence – If you are longtime homeowners, the idea of moving out may be upsetting. However, unless you can peacefully cohabitate with your ex, one or both of you will need to leave the marital home. Many older couples choose to sell the marital home and split the proceeds so that both parties are able to find new housing. This arrangement may feel fairer than forcing one party out while the other stays.
No matter what, ending a long marriage can be complicated. However, it is the first step toward starting your new life on your own terms.
Call a Cook County Divorce Lawyer
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