You and your spouse enjoyed a more than comfortable life together during decades of marriage. Country club memberships, world travel and other “financial” privileges that include a second home in Tuscany. You would not have been able to do so without the financial foundation rooted in the many assets you accumulated together.

But for the past few years, your life together really has been two lives living apart. The signs slowly surfaced. A gray divorce looms over your once satisfying relationship. Yes, it will be a difficult time for you emotionally because of all the years spent together. But do not forget, it will prove challenging, too, on the financial front. That is why it is important to be your own advocate and make sure you get the assets you deserve in this divorce.

Review your finances and look to the future

Gray divorce is not as uncommon as you think. The divorce rates of married couples 50 and older have nearly doubled since the 1990s. People grow apart. Now, comes another hard part: untangling the assets from your marriage. Some are complex.

If you are going through a gray divorce, remember to understand the financial ramifications. You do not want to be shorted on what you deserve, so here are some crucial steps to take:

  • Give careful review to your financial portfolio: Understand which assets you and your spouse accumulated together as well as pre-marriage. Those assets include your home, second home, retirement accounts, pensions and valuable antique or fine art collections. Do not forget to include debts accumulated, too. Assemble all documents.
  • Look for hidden assets: Maybe your spouse stashed away assets unbeknownst to you. Review tax returns, mortgage statements, bank records and home safes. You may uncover a safe hidden safety deposit box.
  • Pay extra attention to retirement assets: As a longtime married couple, you likely amassed an enormous retirement portfolio. These assets such as IRAs, 401(k)s and pensions likely consist primarily of marital assets.
  • Understand your future needs: If you want to maintain your previous lifestyle, you will have to fight for it. Securing alimony is just one step to take.

Looking out for yourself is a crucial aspect of divorce cases. And extra challenges arise in gray divorce. Be prepared.