Tips for Those Going Through a Gray Divorce
If you are going through a gray divorce in Charlotte, North Carolina, you will face some unique challenges. Gray divorce refers to a divorce involving spouses who are age 50 or older and who have been married for a significant amount of time. You will go through the process of a North Carolina judge dividing up the assets for which you have worked incredibly hard. Confusion over the beneficiaries of health care benefits, dividing up Medicare and health insurance benefits, as well as retirement accounts can be extremely difficult. Here are a few tips for Charlotte residents who are going through a gray divorce.
- Get Help
- Take an Account of Your Finances
When you have been married for a significant amount of time, facing a gray divorce can be devastating. You may feel like you are totally alone as you go through this process. You are not alone, however. By hiring an experienced Charlotte gray divorce lawyer, you will have an advocate on your side, guiding you through the process. It can also be wise to hire a financial expert, especially when you and your spouse have significant or complicated assets that a judge will divide between you.
Collect a list of all of the assets you and your spouse own, including the following:
- Your home
- Your vehicle(s)
- Any rental homes
- Any commercial properties
- Your brokerage accounts
- Your pension
- Your health benefits
- Your life insurance policy
- Any other financial assets that you have
- Social Security benefits
- Any other financial assets that you have
After you create your list, separate any assets that you owned before the marriage. Your attorney can help you argue that you should be able to keep that property after the divorce. In North Carolina, judges do not necessarily divide up marital property equally. Instead, they divide up assets according to principles of equitable distribution, guided by fairness. Judges use 13 factors to analyze how to divide up property. Making sure that you understand all of the tax consequences of dividing up your financial assets will help you go through your gray divorce. For example, when you withdraw funds from certain retirement accounts, you will face serious tax penalties that you need to consider before going through the divorce process.
In some cases, couples who are going through a divorce cannot afford to live in separate houses of the same size and style they resided in during the marriage. Deciding ahead of time whether you would like to sell your home to your spouse, keep your family home, or put it on the market can help you develop your legal strategy with your lawyer.
Take some time to write down the cost of your home, including your mortgage, your taxes, your utility charges, the cost of a gardener, and the cost of maintenance. If your home is expensive to maintain, you may benefit from selling the home and downsizing after your divorce. Figuring out your end goal can help you focus on what is the most important outcome to you after your gray divorce becomes finalized.
Even if your gray divorce is amicable and you are both being respectful to each other, divorce is still emotionally difficult. Once you have gathered your financial and legal team and become familiar with your financial situation and your goals, you may benefit from hiring a therapist or counselor. Therapists can help you cope with any anxiety or grief that you experience during and after your divorce.
Going through a divorce later in life can cause people to lose touch with their friends and family. With the stress of the legal process as well as financial and emotional stress, you may find it hard to spend time with your loved ones. It is always beneficial to take a break and connect with people who will support you, no matter the outcome of your divorce. Mental health is important, and you need to be in a healthy place mentally to face the process of your gray divorce.
Many people put off contacting a lawyer because the divorce process is so overwhelming. However, the sooner you contact an experienced gray divorce lawyer, the better. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers have extensive experience assisting people with divorce later in life. Contact our Charlotte legal team as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation today.