More and more couples are seeking divorce later in life. This trend is being called “grey divorce” and tends to include a difference set of challenges than those faced by a couple’s younger counterparts. While these aren’t universal truths, an older couple is more likely to have adult children – so there is no reason for disputes centering on child support, child custody or parenting schedules. This can make portions of the divorce process smoother and less acrimonious.
However, a couple married for decades is more likely to have amassed considerable financial assets either in the form of savings, valuable collections or real estate. Many of the challenges faced by those older divorcing couples are centered on finances.
The Hidden Challenge
Many older divorcing couples might face an unforeseen difficulty related to financial planning and their trusted financial advisor. The couple’s advisor will have to make the sudden change from helping both individuals work toward a common financial goal to helping two individuals with competing objectives. The long-term implications of this changing mindset can be staggering.
It’s mandatory for financial professionals to discuss this potential conflict of interest with both partners in the event of a divorce. This transparency in communication can benefit all parties and allow the individuals to seek another advisor who will have a singular focus on their finances only. Many advisors, unfortunately, simply see the change in strategy as an administrative difficulty and choose to act on the behalf of both parties. As there are no specific regulations centered on a financial professional acting on behalf of both parties in a divorce, they must have a thorough discussion with the former couple about the possibility of a conflict of interest.
An experienced family law lawyer can answer these and many more complex questions. It is important to address all aspects of your upcoming divorce as early as possible.