The rate of divorce for people over 50 in Pennsylvania and across the United States has more than doubled in the past 25 years, and this trend is continuing in its upward direction. While divorce at any stage of life can be accompanied by a wide range of emotional, practical and financial considerations, spouses separating near retirement age can face some unique challenges.

Choosing divorce later in life after a long marriage can often mean that the couple has accumulated significant assets, from real estate to retirement plans and investment funds. Such high-asset divorces often require sorting through complex financial aspects of property and asset division. In order to begin divorce settlement negotiations, an accurate picture of the financial status of the couple is particularly important. Each divorcing spouse can help their case by preparing a full inventory of all of the property that belongs to the couple, including both individual and jointly held assets.

Past employment records are also important as they can point to assets like stock options, defined benefit plans and pension plans. Many seniors who have spent decades in the workforce forget that they have received these assets. It’s also a good idea to consider any issues related to spousal support. For example, life insurance may be a good option to protect the recipient spouse’s financial future in case the paying spouse passes away.

To help ensure a smoother divorce process, a separating spouse may want to retain a family law attorney. A lawyer can act to protect the interests of a client and work vigorously to achieve a fair settlement in the divorce.