Divorce is on the rise among the over-50s*, who often wait until their kids have left home before choosing to separate.
If you’ve reached the point of no return, here’s our advice on making the process a smooth one…
1. Consider your options
Heading straight to the courtroom can be both expensive and emotionally draining. Choosing the right process in the beginning could save you time, money and anguish.
Look into out-of-court dispute resolutions such as mediation and collaborative law – where you work out the details of your separation with your former partner and a professional.
2. Sort out the money
Early in the process, gather together all of your financial information and exchange it with your former partner, so you both understand one another’s positions.
You can do this during mediation or one-on-one, but at some point you will have to share the information with your lawyer. This mandatory part of the process is called Financial Disclosure.
3. Don't act rashly
Be careful not to make any badly thought out moves – like selling your house at a knock-down price – as you need to secure yourself for a financially uncertain future. Plus selling your house at a loss is certainly not going to improve relations with your partner.
4. Get outside help
Use a financial adviser to work out a plan for your future. Make sure you take time to talk about any adjustments you’re thinking of making to your current life or retirement plans. It can be a real shock if you’ve never been financially independent before, and an adviser can help you come to terms with the transition.
5. Move out
If money is tight, it may be tempting to continue living with your former partner until the divorce is finalised. This can be a real struggle, so consider the possibility of renting out your property and finding somewhere else to live temporarily.
6. Think about your pension
Pensions are complicated, and you need to take into account that if you’re planning to split the value of the pension, you may not get an equal amount in retirement. Talk to your financial adviser to make sure you know what to expect.
7. Be patient
Divorces don’t happen overnight. If you’re separating later in life, you’ll probably have more financial assets and emotional history so the process needs to be approached thoughtfully and with care to ensure a fair outcome for both partners.
8. Think about the kids
Even if your offspring are older, they may well still be affected by the divorce. It’s very important to avoid speaking negatively to them about your ex.
The fall-out from divorce will be felt at future family events, and maintaining a civil relationship with your former partner will help to avoid awkward situations.