The number of so-called gray divorces has increased over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, a late-in-life divorce can place a significant amount of financial strain on the parties who are ending their marriage. Women are especially vulnerable to financial risks following divorce in New York and elsewhere.

Many couples who decide to get divorced after the age of 50 have a substantial net worth but not very many liquid assets. For instance, a couple might have a closely held business or a complex asset such as a private equity holding or hedge fund. These types of assets can be challenging to divide during divorce.

Establishing the value of all joint assets is critical during the dissolution of a marriage. In some cases, one party might be hiding assets, in which case enlisting the help of a forensic accountant may be necessary to uncover assets. Before beginning the divorce process, it may be beneficial to avoid purchasing illiquid investments or adding debt to a business or home. If debt is secured with certain assets, it may be difficult to take one’s portion of the assets as part of the divorce.

The more assets owned or the higher their value, the more challenging and contentious a New York divorce proceeding may be. However, collaborative divorce or direct divorce negotiations may make it possible for both parties to achieve a mutually beneficial settlement without limited court intrusion. If this is not possible, a judge will have to decide for the couple how their assets will be divided.

Source: wtop.com, “Over 65? How to know if you can afford a ‘gray divorce’“, Dawn Doebler, Feb. 21, 2017