A record number of Americans are choosing to end their marriages later in life. Such a move largely led by women“can be particularly tricky,” says divorce and family attorney Mark Guralnick.

Couples who have been together for 30-40 years may already have a shared will, and spousal support becomes more complicated when the spouse who would normally do the supporting is relying on social security or a meager pension.

Divorcee Mary Ann Merlino Oleksa of Marlton, New Jersey, believes the complications were worth the effort. “More people at my age, at this time of life are starting to realize that you don’t have to put up with a lot of stuff that women did years ago.

You can be your own person.”

But research indicates that “being your own person” may come at a higher cost than many women realize.