Gray divorce — the phenomenon of divorce among individuals 50 years or age and older — has increased twofold in almost 25 years. Given the aging population in Dallas and across the United States, the trend is only expected to increase.

In some ways, gray divorce can be simpler than divorce at an earlier time in a married couple’s life. For one thing, child custody and child support are not likely to play a role in the proceedings, since children will be grown and independent. Also, heated emotions are less likely to give rise to contentious disputes, as older couples may have grown apart emotionally over the years and merely seek to formalize their separation.

However, one area which gray divorcees need to consider carefully is their retirement finances. For some, haste to wrap up the divorce process may lead to poor decision making in this regard. Once separated, they find that the increased expense of single life coupled with the loss of a partner’s retirement income can prove problematic. And for individuals nearing the end of their working careers, there may not be adequate time left to make the necessary changes to their portfolios.

Fortunately, there are some measures divorcing couples can — and should — take to protect their interests, no matter how amicable the proceedings. An accounting professional can help identify all accounts and other assets that need to be considered during property division. Financial planning professionals can also look at what kind of income divorcing partners will need in the future and help ensure that the long-term outlook holds no unpleasant surprises.

Ultimately, a legal professional can help coordinate all of these resources for Dallas residents considering divorce at a later stage in their lives. It can be a challenging time, but like other life changes, it is one that can be overcome successfully with the right tools.

Source: The New York Times, “Retirement Plans Thrown Into Disarray by a Divorce,” Constance Gustke, June 27, 2014