Older California couples who are considering separating may be worried about how divorce will affect retirement security. However, there are some steps that these people can take to help lessen the impact a “gray divorce” may have on their retirement assets.

No financial decisions should be made based on emotions. During a divorce, many spouses can be emotionally vulnerable and prone to making ill-advised choices regarding money. It’s important that they avoid making large purchases that they cannot afford. When spending, caution is key. It’s also vital to plan out what will be needed in the future, including during retirement.

Organizing important documents is also important. Both parties of a divorce should maintain copies of previous tax returns, statements for credit cards and banks, insurance documents, receipts that pertain to current taxes, registration documents for vehicles, retirement account statements and more.

It’s also advisable that the credit reports for both parties are obtained and carefully reviewed. Someone who is getting a divorce should be fully aware of all of the assets and debts in their name only and what they are jointly responsible for with their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Consulting with a financial adviser who specializes in retirement issues can also be very helpful before going into negotiations for divorce settlement terms. The financial adviser could provide valuable information about what a client may require for a more financially secure future.

In addition, a family law attorney may help a senior obtain divorce settlement terms that can protect retirement assets. The lawyer could engage in negotiation to resolve disputes regarding division of bank accounts, pensions, real estate properties and other types of marital assets. Litigation may also be used as a last resort.