On behalf of The Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty, PC posted in Divorce on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Texas marriages and business relationships lack many emotional and personal similarities. However, there are lessons to dissolving a long-established business relationship that can also apply to the divorce process for older spouses. Research shows that divorces later in life now account for at least 25 percent of divorces in this country for those at least 50-years-old.

Divorce may be one of the most notorious destroyers of wealth. It can add 30 to 40 percent to the cost of ling and have many consequences on daily life, such as changing auto insurance and car reports and the ability for a spouse to obtain financing.

Couples, like business partners, should develop a plan, like buy-sell agreements, which provide contingencies for setbacks, such as bankruptcies, loss of key personnel or disputes between the principals. A prenuptial agreement (prenup) can help address some of these issues. If a prenup was not drafted, a married couple can enter a post-nuptial agreement that can identify and divide assets during divorce.

Divorce, like other dissolution, require an understanding of the value of the couple’s assets and how they change. For example, real estate will appreciate differently than a deferred retirement account. A proper accounting will help identify assets and property that may not have been properly disclosed.

Liquidating assets may have uneven tax consequences. A Roth IRA and regular IRA may have equal balances. But, a withdrawal from a regular IRA is taxable while Roth withdrawals are not because the taxes were paid when the money was originally set aside.

Like business disputes, mediation may provide a quicker and less expensive means to resolve disagreements and divide property. This process can help parties achieve a reasonable income outside of a formal court proceeding.

Ending a marriage also requires balancing the need for keeping savings and assets with the goal of achieving happiness and moving on from a marriage. This is especially prevalent for couples who have been married longer.

Spouses at the end of a marriage should not speak to anyone else about the financial details of their case except for their attorneys and other advisor. A lawyer can help assure that a spouse can seek a fair and just decree under Texas law.

Source: The Washington Post, “Divorcing late in life? Don’t let it destroy your retirement.,” Martha M. Hamilton, Dec. 2, 2016