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Divorces Among Long-Married Couples Highlight the Need for Thoughtful Planning

In general, as people age, they tend to accumulate assets and receive gradually larger salaries. Couples, too, are often lucky enough to increase their standard of living over the years, and the more years they remain married, the more intertwined their finances become. Now, results from a recent survey of 546 people who divorced after having been married for 10 years or longer have revealed that longer marriages often mean a bigger financial impact on divorcing spouses.

The study, published in April 2014, identified the following three main issues that seem to impact spouses ending long-term marriages most significantly:

  • Retirement accounts — More than 30 percent of those who participated in the survey did not claim or did not realize they could claim a portion of their spouses’ retirement benefits, while 21 percent expressed regret that they had not made sure they would receive survivor benefits.
  • Primary residence — A couple’s house is often a point of contention when they divorce, and this is no different for spouses married for more than ten years. But older spouses are more likely to buy out the other’s half of their jointly owned home. Similarly, the longer the marriage, the less likely one spouse is to agree to let the other spouse have the house (and the more likely to fight for it).
  • Financial advisor — The length of marriage may impact whether a spouse decides to keep using a financial advisor after working with one during the divorce. Among those surveyed, those married 10 to 19 years were 25 percent more likely to continue with their financial advisors after the divorce than those married 20 years or longer.

The main takeaway from these figures is that the longer a couple’s finances are entwined, the more financially vulnerable each spouse is in a divorce. In fact, among those surveyed, those married for 20 years or longer were less likely to say their finances were better after the divorce than those married 10 to 19 years. They were also less likely to say they were better off financially in comparison with their exes.

With support and guidance from a skilled attorney, it’s possible to protect yourself financially in a divorce. To learn about your options, contact a skilled divorce attorney in Minnesota.

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  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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