Balance financial and emotional security in gray divorce

Baby Boomers and Generation X couples in their 50s and older are reevaluating life goals and many are deciding to reclaim a sense of independence. Nearly a quarter of all divorces are being filed by people over the half-century mark in what has been termed “gray divorce.”

In some ways, the timing couldn’t be more practical. Many people have self-sufficient children over 25 years old and life expectancy continues to climb. Retirement packages and social security benefits will become in-hand revenue soon and couples who have been together for several decades have accumulated substantial marital assets. However, dividing things such as homes and pensions can unsettle your sense of security and stir powerful emotions. One key to moving into your new life feeling financially and emotional secure could be to negotiate a divorce settlement.

So-called gray divorcees face a shorter time span and until retirement age than early-aged divorced couples. That puts them in a unique position. Salaries, alimony and other revenue streams can bridge the gap until social security and retirement packages come are into play.

On the personal side, long-time homemakers can develop a strong emotional attachment and sense of security to the marital home. Having it sold and the proceeds divided up could be an emotionally unacceptable outcome. Similarly, spouses whose work has been a primary source of pride may view the pension as a symbolic accomplishment. Having a court-ordered division could be a very sore point.

Marital assets often mean much more to people than just the dollars and cents assigned to them. These things come with long-standing, deeply personal connections and this is a place where feelings and money intersect in a gray divorce.

One way to balance your emotional and financial security is to develop a settlement strategy with your attorney. Outline the things that will help you feel grounded and discuss a reasonable division of assets in terms of dollar values. Calculate the home equity against pension value, as well as other things you’re willing to put on the table.

Exploring a new life path doesn’t mean that you have to knock the old one down and totally rebuild. Empower your attorney to negotiate a divorce settlement on your behalf that strikes a balance.

If you believe that gray divorce is the healthiest option for you, you may benefit from seeking the legal guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. A professional will be able to help you sort out the best course of action for your unique situation.