If you’ve been married a long time

If you have been married a long timeIf you are separating after a long relationship, you will have some special and important concerns. You may have accumulated significant assets, have grown children and perhaps grandchildren, and may be looking ahead to, or already be in, retirement. You may have assets, such as a family cottage, that have significant emotional value to you and your spouse.  And these days, you may still have responsibilities for adult children and post-secondary education costs.

All relationships, particularly long ones, build not only tangible assets, but intangible ones too, such as a wide circle of friends and extended family. They also create financial and emotional interdependence and connection. As a result, a separation process after a long relationship and later in life, will involve making critical and perhaps challenging decisions.

You may wish to address some of the following questions and concerns:

If you have been married a long time

  • How will we work out support arrangements that will create security for both of us in retirement?
  • Is it possible, and do we wish, to achieve financial separateness and finality? If not, how can we create ongoing arrangements that are as certain as possible and easy to implement?
  • How long do we expect support arrangements to continue? What do we expect if one of us retires and continues to work, likely at a reduced income?
  • How can we create the incentive for each of us to be as independent and self-supporting as possible?
  • How will we address the needs of older children for post secondary education, weddings and the like?
  • Do we wish to leave a legacy to our children and grandchildren?
  • Do we wish to consider a trust arrangement to benefit our children and grandchildren?
  • Do we wish to leave our cottage to our children and if so, how will we make those arrangements?
  • When do we expect to sell or downsize our home?
  • Do we want some help to achieve the capacity for a constructive relationship for the benefit of our children, grandchildren, extended family and friends?

In these cases, it is particularly helpful to involve a neutral Financial Professional in a collaborative or mediation process, to ensure that property division and support arrangements meet the need for long-term security in retirement for both spouses.

You may also wish to work with a neutral Family Professional in order to help them bring emotional closure to your relationship and learn strategies for a businesslike, perhaps even amicable, communication and interaction. This will allow you to be together with family and mutual longstanding friends that important events and milestones without discomfort. This can be one of the greatest legacies to your children, and can create peace of mind and well-being for you and your spouse as well.