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Ending a Long-Term Marriage with a Stockton Marital Dissolution Attorney

The dissolution of a marriage is a challenging process for most spouses, but it can be even more fraught with difficulty when the two spouses have been married for a lengthy period of time. (These divorces are often referred to as “Gray Divorce.”) Long-term marriages are not only likelier to be more complex, with children and more significant assets to divide but are also likelier to be more hostile due to the inherent emotional investment associated with decades of marriage. An experienced Central Valley and Stockton marital dissolution attorney can assist you as you explore the divorce process for a long-term marriage.

Divorce Issues Common to Couples in Long-Term Marriages

Pensions and Retirement Funds

In California, community property rights (i.e., the right of a spouse to split a marital asset) apply only between the date of marriage and the date of separation. This can have quite an impact on pension funds. The spouse is entitled to split those assets, but only the percentage that accounts for the accrual between the date of marriage and the date of separation.

Suppose your spouse will receive their pension at age 65. You were married when she was age 25, and she began working at the organization at-issue. You divorced when she was age 45. You would, therefore, be entitled to claim the pension amount accrued over 20 years (i.e., half the total pension amount) as marital assets, to be split in accordance with community property rules. A Stockton marital dissolution attorney can help determine your appropriate claim to pensions and retirement funds based on California divorce law.

Business Concerns in Gray Divorce

Spouses who start businesses together are entitled to split the business interest. If the court believes that effectively operating the business together post-divorce would be impossible, they may choose to split the marital assets in a different way so as to avoid shared ownership/management of the business. Alternatively, the court may force a sale of a spouse’s business interest.

Stockton Marital Dissolution Attorney for Commingled Assets

Separate property assets can “transmute” into community property assets by virtue of commingling of funds. Whether there has actually been commingling is a highly fact-specific question. For example, if your spouse inherits property, and you invest significant amounts of your own money in upgrading and maintaining the property, then you would be entitled to the amount you invested, along with half of the amount that the property increased in value (i.e., it’s appreciation in value).

Spousal Support Jurisdiction

In California, the spousal support issue remains under court jurisdiction if the marriage has lasted at least a decade. For example, if you were married 12 years, you would pay out spousal support for 12 years, and your obligation ends. Sometime later, however, your ex-spouse goes through difficult financial times. Your ex-spouse could file to have the spousal support reinstated. If this is the case you should consult with a Central Valley and Stockton marital dissolution attorney.

Contact a MCJG Stockton Marital Dissolution Attorney for Gray Divorce Guidance

A long-term marriage generally leads to a more complicated divorce by virtue of commingled assets, income/business interests, and other issues that arise when the spouses naturally engage with one another over decades. For this reason, it’s important you get in touch with an experienced Stockton marital dissolution attorney for guidance on how to proceed with a divorce if you’re in a long-term marriage.

At McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP, we regularly represent clients in divorce proceedings, including divorce matters that are made more challenging by virtue of a lengthy marriage (and all the issues that are associated with a lengthy marriage).

If you’d like to speak to a divorce attorney at MCJG, complete an online intake form or call us at 209-477-8171 to schedule a consultation. Though we are located in Stockton, CA, we serve clients throughout the state of California, including the Central Valley.

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