You and your partner have been together for many years in Louisiana, but now you’ve decided to separate. Though you are well into your retirement years, you still need to separate your assets and move forward.
It can be hard for couples in this situation to move on, as much of their lives have been intertwined for so long. If that describes your situation, there are some things you may want to do to make separating easier.
1. Be clear about separate property
Sometimes, it’s hard to know what is or is not separate property, especially if you’ve been together for a long time. One way to approach this just to assume all of your assets are shared. However, if you purchased the home you live in or have receipts to show which properties or assets are separate, you can set those aside and know they’re not part of the assets you need to divide.
2. Know that laws don’t always protect you
Married couples could be entitled to pensions or retirement benefits based on their spouse’s work history, but if you didn’t marry, you won’t be able to get the same benefits. Living together is not the same as marriage, and though you may have appeared like a married couple, that doesn’t necessarily protect you when you separate.
The best thing for you and your partner to do will be to speak with your own attorneys about what you’d like to do and how you wish to approach your separation. Many couples go through the same process they would in divorce to be fair to one another, but the negotiations and agreements typically are made outside court. With things like retirement and savings, you’ll have to be creative to help both of you maintain your standard of living.
3. Be honest and fair
Finally, it’s best if you and your partner can agree to be honest and fair. Your assets may be shared, but you should be able to agree on who uses them more or how to split valuable items between you. Whether it’s selling a property and sharing the proceeds or recognizing that each of you is entitled to a fair amount of property and splitting up furniture for your new homes, you should both attempt to be kind and fair when separating property. Fighting over small things will only drag out a conflict.
Your attorney can give you more information on any current state laws that may help protect you when you separate from your partner. Your attorney will also help you understand which items are yours to take away and which items could be considered shared property for the purposes of separating your assets from your partner’s.