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Gray divorce: Know what you need for a fair settlement

Your kids are old enough to be in college, and the brood has finally left the home. You thought this was when you'd get back to the life you had with your spouse, spending time together and enjoying some of your golden years. Unfortunately, your spouse had other ideas, and he is seeking a divorce.

A gray divorce is a sad event, but it doesn't mean that you have to move forward without the things you need in the future. You've built a life together, and now you need to make sure you get what you need to have a life apart from your spouse.

What are the common issues in gray divorces?

One of the most common issues is the division of assets such as your marital home or retirement program. If you and your spouse can negotiate together, you may decide on an equitable distribution that you believe is fair.

For example, if you have been a stay-at-home parent, you may ask for alimony as well as half of your spouse's retirement or pension. If you had children to care for, you might want to seek the marital home, but since you don't, you and your spouse will need to decide if it is best to sell or keep the property. If neither of you can afford it separately, it's a good idea to sell it and divide the profits.

Another issue in a gray divorce is one spouse's need for additional training or career improvement. In many cases, one spouse put his or her training or career on the back burner to raise children and now has a lower income potential. This has to be addressed in the divorce through alimony or other payouts.

Long-term marriages have many factors to address. With the right help, it's possible to divide your property equitably and move on with your life.

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