06/15/2012 12:19 pm ET | Updated Aug 15, 2012

Don't Let Grey Divorce Put You in the 'Red'!

Facing divorce after a long-term marriage can be overwhelming. The partner who feels motivated to leave the marriage may feel a sense of adventure along with the hope of starting a new life. For the partner left behind, there is often sadness and a great sense of loss. For both, there can be worry about whether they can be secure in their later years.

In reality, both partners are facing the same challenges. Grey Divorce -- divorcing in your late 50s or 60s or even later -- is a wake-up call that requires the same attentiveness for everyone involved. After years together, the vast majority of couples who separate want to make sure that both of them will be able to manage on their own. When there are grown children in the mix, it is even more important to work out a settlement that looks and feels balanced to the rest of the family.

Separation at this age and stage requires cooperation between the parties so that no one is left out in the cold financially. That can happen not because it was intended, but as a result of oversight to detail. Deciding to separate needs to be followed up with taking all of the necessary steps to ensure everyone is OK.

Here are some of the unique issues that face those who are divorcing later in life:

• Understanding existing medical benefits
• Making sense of CPP entitlements and splitting
• Dividing pensions
• Credit eligibility
• Estate planning
• Will rewriting
• Splitting jointly held corporations
• Decluttering/downsizing
• Working longer
• Health concerns of both spouses

Additionally, at the time in life when incomes start to shrink and retirement is approaching, divorce costs are likely not in the budget. A lifetime of planning for the future can be deeply undermined if emotions get the better of good sense.

Luckily, there are good options that can help control the cost of Grey Divorce. Gone are the days when divorce meant court and the delays and expense that entailed.

Collaborative Practice (also called Collaborative Law) is a popular choice among separating couples who want to work out their futures with respect for one another. They also recognize that preservation of their assets is key in ensuring that they can both look forward to financial stability.

The collaborative process is about management. The well-trained lawyers manage the negotiations by making sure their clients are well informed and that they have the time they need to fully understand the effect of the choices they make.

The financials, like those listed above, are also managed by the financial professionals who can translate the clients' thoughts and choices about their futures into numbers that illustrate the realities. Managing the costs of separation is the first step in re-establishing a plan for the future.