Divorce over the age of 55, known as a “gray divorce,” is becoming more common. According to Today, divorce rates are actually the highest among men and women ages 55 and up (https://www.today.com/health/what-gray-divorce-6-things-know-about-splitting-later-life-t218377).
If you are older and considering divorce, you likely have more concerns than someone younger who hasn’t been married for nearly as long. However, this does not mean you should not consider divorce. If you are unhappy in your marriage, you have the right to end that marriage regardless of your age or how long you have been married. The key here is to make sure those additional concerns are addressed and managed by avoiding making the five common gray divorce mistakes below.
Not Knowing What Your Marital Assets Are
Never go into a divorce blind about your marital assets. Find and make copies of all paperwork, usernames, and passwords associated with all assets in your life, including assets solely in your or your spouse’s name. You never know how your spouse may react to the divorce, and your attorney will benefit from having all of this documentation if your spouse attempts to hide any assets during the process.
If you believe your spouse has always hidden assets, make sure you let your attorney know. They can work to uncover those assets and ensure they are considered in your divorce so you receive a truly fair settlement.
Being Completely Unfamiliar With Divorce in New Mexico
Become a little familiar with the divorce laws in New Mexico. You don’t need to be an expert as that is what your attorney is for, but it can help if you have some basic knowledge while you are going through the process. Make sure you use a legitimate website for information. Many New Mexico courts, for example, have some general divorce information online at their official websites.
Going With the First Attorney You Hear About
Look online for divorce attorneys near you and ask family and friends for recommendations. Research those attorneys on the web until you have a shortlist of three to four attorneys. Then, interview all of those attorneys before you make a final decision. You want an attorney you feel comfortable with and also confident in. If you can’t communicate openly and honestly with your attorney during the divorce process, it will hurt the outcome.
Telling Your Spouse Before You Are Ready
Don’t mention the divorce to your spouse until you are entirely certain it is what you want. By researching divorce laws and speaking to an attorney, you already should have a better idea of how your divorce may go and what the impact on your life will be now and down the road. You can use this information to decide whether the divorce is the right move for you.
Trusting Your Spouse
Once you have decided to divorce and tell your spouse, don’t rely on everything they tell you. What they say to you may not be what they tell their attorney. Divorces sometimes start out civil and then go downhill during the process, so you cannot rely on your spouse’s word alone that they will seek a fair and equitable settlement with you.
Divorce is still possible even for those who are older; it’s never too late to free yourself from an unhappy marriage and start a new life. To keep yourself and your post-divorce life protected during your gray divorce, make sure you avoid the mistakes above and work with an experienced divorce attorney.