Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC

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What to expect in a gray divorce

When Wisconsin spouses divorce after the age of 50, there are financial considerations that come into play that were not present when they were younger. Instead of needing to make arrangements about children, the issues of a gray divorce are primarily financial since retirement is looming around the corner. The decisions made in the divorce may dictate whether each spouse is able to retire as well as the quality of their retirement.

There will be hard choices about the division of the marital estate. What adds to the pressure is that any concession that is made by a spouse may have a direct impact on their post-divorce financial situation. Depending on the financial arrangements, each spouse may have to cut back on their standard of living since two homes will now need to be maintained on the same salaries. At the same time, the retirement assets will now be needed to support two retirements.

There is a certain tension between an amicable resolution of the divorce and making sure that an individual financial situation is somewhat preserved. The difficulties of a gray divorce require preparation and a strategy ahead of time. One needs to sit down and think about how they will approach the divorce and what they would need in order to preserve their lifestyle and retirement. They cannot make decisions off-the-cuff in the negotiation process.

One of the ways to help prepare for a gray divorce is to hire a divorce attorney. Trying to handle a divorce without legal counsel when there is so much at stake is a risky strategy. The attorney may help their client by sitting down with them at the outset of the divorce to educate them on what they may face and to help them define an appropriate strategy for the divorce negotiations.