Many New York residents are making the difficult decision to start the divorce process after decades of marriage. While going through a divorce can be difficult for any couple, those going through a “gray divorce,” or a divorce that involves a couple over the age of 50, has unique challenges.

Couples who have been married for decades have often accumulated assets such as a home, vehicles and retirement funds. All of these assets will need to be divided between the former couple during the divorce. Preparing for the divorce in advance, which may include creating an inventory of all of the assets that are separate and jointly owned, can make the actual process go more smoothly. If the value of an asset is not known, such as an antique, fine art and jewelry, obtaining appraisals beforehand can be beneficial.

However, another aspect of the divorce is that there may not be much time to recover financially before retirement. In some cases, individuals nearing retirement age who are planning to get a divorce may need to re-evaluate their retirement timeline. This may mean altering their lifestyles, whether that means downsizing or ensuring that they have access to liquid funds. Finally, if the former couple is still supporting older children or grandchildren, the costs will need to be factored into the divorce as well.

Even if the divorce process starts out as amicable, it can turn complicated very quickly. A family law attorney may help inventory all of the assets that were amassed during the marriage and potentially even determine if the other former spouse is hiding assets. In many cases, the attorney may also assist with dividing retirement funds in a fair and just manner. If there are children or grandchildren involved, the attorney may assist with protecting the person’s parental or grandparent rights.