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Wisconsin Family Law Articles
Leaving a long-term marriage can complicate retirement.

Leaving a Long-Term Marriage

Divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful experiences you can have during any phase of your life. For those who have been married for decades, deciding how to divide assets, address retirement resources, and manage healthcare needs can be complicated issues. Additionally, leaving someone with whom you have shared most of your life can be overwhelming.

The Marital Residence

Wisconsin is a community property state, which means that, outside of certain agreements and property ownership, all income and assets brought to and acquired during the marriage belong to the couple equally. For those leaving a long-term marriage, this could mean having to sell their home and split the proceeds. When a couple has lived in and paid off a home in a community, the idea of selling the property and leaving what is familiar can be daunting. Without adequate funds, one or both people may be priced out of their area and have to start over in an entirely new town.

Retirement Accounts

Married couples seldom plan for their retirements with divorce in mind. When a couple has reached retirement age and has decided they want to go their separate ways, they will have to examine their retirement funds and adjust their plans. If the pair divides retirement and social security income, this could mean having half as many resources to live off of than each of them expected. The result could be one or both people delaying retirement, returning to work, or having to seriously downsize.


Aging couples often have to consider healthcare issues. This is a time in life when it is critical to have the right healthcare resources and coverage in place. If the couple has been planning by paying for long-term health care policies, they will have to determine how to continue covering the premium expenses.

Another aspect of leaving a long-term marriage is the inevitable emotions which come with ending such a significant relationship. It is no small matter to leave your long-term partner and enter into a new sense of self. Both during and after the divorce, it is critical to exercise self-care, take steps to process your emotions about these changes, and seek support. Ending a long-term marriage can be a momentous change.  We understand the complications and issues which arise when leaving this kind of relationship. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances.


You don't have to navigate Wisconsin divorce laws alone. Contact the experienced family law attorney Karyn Youso for a free 30-minute consultation.