After several decades, your marriage has frayed, and you and your spouse are about to join the growing number of couples in gray divorce. In divorces involving longtime married couples middle-aged and up, many complications surface, namely those related to assets.
As a high earner, your husband brought home a salary that allowed you to stay home and raise the children. It offered you the chance to travel around the world, invest in securities and exotic properties, and pay the expensive school tuition for your children. But what is going to happen to these assets now that divorce looms? Financial investments, business holdings and collectibles (think collections of fine art, wine and luxury cars) are just a few of them.
Real estate, family businesses
You must make sure that you get your fair share of the complex assets that you and your spouse accumulated during the marriage. The list can be long in gray divorce situations, and here are some of them:
- Real estate, including vacation homes: Together, you may have purchased properties in other states as well as abroad. Think of a ranch in Montana or a villa in Italy. Accounting for these assets is crucial, especially those that are overseas. Why? Because one spouse may attempt to hide such a valuable asset.
- A family-owned business: Together as a couple, you built this company into a well-operating and profitable one. Now that you are parting ways, what will you do? Scenarios include selling it, buying your estranged spouse’s share or even continuing to operate together.
- Commingled property: A mix of separate and community property, these assets are, sometimes, complicated. An example includes a home or property purchased pre-marriage by one spouse, but, once married, the other spouse contributes payments as well. The same description holds true for the above-mentioned family-owned business.
- Financial investments and retirement accounts: Years of togetherness mean years of a solid and disciplined investment strategy. The two of you have likely built up a substantial portfolio that proves complicated to separate. However, a good portion likely consists of marital assets.
- Valuable collections: With the income your husband earned, the two of you indulged in collections of fine art, jewelry, wine, antiques, luxury and vintage cars, and sports memorabilia. Once again, much of these collections are marital property.
Affluent couples in long-term marriages understand that complex assets accompany their lives. Now that divorce is inevitable, it is time to separate those assets. It can be done but takes time and patience.