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Late-in-life divorce is becoming an increasingly common trend. Though it’s still less common than divorce in short-term marriages, it’s a process that, every year, leaves thousands of couples overwhelmed and perplexed. Divorces occurring after decades of marriage can often be more complicated and contentious than divorces occuring after a short marriage. Since these divorces are so different from the average divorce, it’s important to know how to navigate them before you begin the separation process.

Understand That Your Divorce Is Different:

Late-in-life divorces often include special considerations that a normal divorce would not include. Though you likely don’t have to worry about custody arrangements, you may find that separating financially can be very difficult. Dividing up retirement savings accounts and other assets can also affect the divorce process. When couples divorce late in life, it can be harder for each party to move forward financially, especially if they’ve already retired or were planning on retiring soon. These curveballs can represent just a few of the many ways a late-in-life divorce is different from a regular divorce.

Prioritize Your Health:

Divorce can take a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are taking care of yourself during this time. Physical exercise is a

great way to manage your stress and promote your happiness. It may also help to spend extra time with friends and family. Since many people struggle to cope with the changes of a divorce, seeking counselling may be helpful. Improving your mental and physical health can make the separation process a much easier one. 

Decide on How Your Assets Will be Divided:

How are your assets going to be split up? As previously mentioned, since your assets are more combined after decades of marriage, having a lawyer help split up the assets will likely expedite the process. Utah is an Equitable Distribution state, meaning that the assets are divided up fairly—but not necessarily equally. Equitable Distribution can be confusing for many couples to navigate. This is especially true since many couples have amassed assets of all kinds together. Deciding how these will be divided up can be a very intricate process. If there is a good deal of conflict over who is getting what, a lawyer will almost certainly need to be involved.

Consider Selling Your House:

While you and your ex are dividing up assets, you will eventually get to the house. Who is keeping the house? This is a difficult question for a lot of couples to answer. Many people become emotionally attached to their homes and are quite unwilling to entertain the idea of selling them. However, all couples should at the very least seriously consider selling the home. It is often very difficult to “split the home” through equity. If you’re interested in keeping the home, it is important to consider if you can actually afford to keep the house. Now that your

income is a fraction of what it used to be, keeping the house may no longer make sense financially.

Consider Your Financial Future:

Not only will you need to consider if you can afford the house, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll move forward financially in general. How will you be able to afford the everyday bills on a reduced income? What will your new income look like after the assets have been divided up? If you or your spouse needs financial support due to chronic illness, payments may have to be made to the disabled spouse. If this is an element in your divorce, this may impact your financial future.

When You’re Going Through a Divorce:

There’s a good reason divorce is considered to be a traumatic event.  Divorces are extremely painful, life-changing events, and during the process, many people have a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. At CoilLaw, we can help you make divorce an easier and more painless experience. Jill Coil and her team understand the complexities of late-in-life divorces. If you have questions about divorcing after decades of marriage, we can answer your questions and help you feel more secure about the future.


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