People who are facing divorce after many years of marriage, or just later in life, face unique challenges. They are less connected by the need to provide daily care and financial support for their children. They also may be facing other life changes such as upcoming retirement or increasing health concerns (and costs!) as they age. Sometimes this has been called The Graying of Divorce. According to Mayoclinic.org, “Empty nest syndrome isn’t a clinical diagnosis. Instead, empty nest syndrome is a phenomenon in which parents experience feelings of sadness and loss when the last child leaves home.” It is a life transition where spouses can take a step back and look at how their lives are progressing. As part of this process of reflection, they may say to themselves: “I’ve put up with this long enough!” Alternatively, it might be a time when couples take advantage of having more time to explore new interests and activities to share together. A process that can be helpful to those considering divorce or separation is called Discernment Counseling. Discernment Counseling is different than regular couples counseling because–instead of just focusing on helping the marriage relationship–it focuses on deciding whether the marriage should be worked on or whether divorce or separation should be pursued. The University of Minnesota has a Discernment Counseling project has a helpful website that you may want to visit if you want to learn more about Discernment Counseling. If divorce is the path chosen, Collaborative Divorce is often a perfect option as it can help increase communication and mutual respect to the benefit of both spouses (and grown children!). A neutral financial professional can analyze retirement cash flow and budgets, including tax implications of withdrawing retirement funds. Empty Nest divorces have their own unique challenges. They also are an opportune time to be able to enter a process that the older divorcing couple can be proud of in creating a respectful transition to separate living and ending of their marriage.