A growing trend that is affecting more and more Texas couples is divorce later in life. Those who are 50 and over are increasingly choosing to divorce. The rate of these types of divorces – recently dubbed “gray” divorces – has been steadily increasing. Research has shown that between 1990 and 2014, the number of people age 50 and over who divorced doubled. For people over 65, the number tripled. While the idea that it should be easier for older people to get a divorce without a dispute over children and support hindering the process makes logical sense, that is not the case. There are certain factors that must be considered with an older divorce.
Such issues as Social Security, property and retirement accounts are often in dispute. While the couple had previously had all the assets shared between them, when they divorce, these will have to be split. How much each party will need to take care of themselves for the remainder of their lives will matter. One issue that comes up is the family home. While there might be reluctance to sell it, this can be a smart way to avoid financial issues when living as a single person. Some older people do not have the ability or the desire to go back into the workforce. There could be financial concerns. Selling the home can help solve these problems.
When a person makes an estate plan, beneficiaries will be named as to who receives retirement accounts and other assets. That is often the spouse. When there is a divorce, the asset allocation will need to be updated. Failing to change this can result in the former spouse getting the assets. Many couples are structured in that one spouse handles the finances. After a divorce, this will have to change. People who have not been responsible for money management will have that thrust upon them. It is wise to have a grasp on how to do that even if it means taking a class to garner that information.
Any divorce will be rife with emotions. If it is a couple that is older, was married for a long time and did not expect to have to go through with a proceeding to end the marriage, it is more difficult. This is why it is important to have assistance from an experienced legal professional who knows how to handle a wide variety of divorce issues. When the end of a marriage is inevitable, calling a lawyer is the first step to being fully prepared.
Source: cnbc.com, “Surviving divorce after 50,” Katie Young, Mar. 2, 2017