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Older couples and divorce: financial considerations

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2019 | Divorce

The divorce rate has been stable for most age groups for a while. However, gray divorces involving older people, particularly over the age of 65, have doubled since 1990. As some Texas couples will experience, the financial aspect is more complex in gray divorce because there are usually more assets to negotiate.

Protecting financial stability is a primary concern for couples going through a gray divorce, and the type of state a couple lives in will dictate the process of division of property. Texas is a community property state, so all assets and debts acquired during marriage, including physical assets, money and other financial instruments, will be divided evenly during the process. However, this does not mean that process is simplified. There are several things that couples should consider during a grey divorce. The first, of course, is alimony. Because alimony is paid based on total compensation, when the amount is being determined, things beyond basic salary must be considered. These include car and trip allowances, compensation packages, stock options and ownership in companies.

Other things should also be considered. Inheritance is usually not considered marital property, so it should fall outside of the community property division. However, inheritance has sometimes been used by the couple together and co-mingled with their other property.

There is also the possibility of receiving Social Security based on an ex-spouse’s contributions, but the couple must have been married at least 10 years, and there are other considerations and rules as well. Retirement accounts, such as 401Ks, also have rules for division. Life insurance is usually required for those paying alimony or child support, but the receiver should ensure that they hold the policy as owner and beneficiary to control where the money goes.

During this process, the assistance of a family law lawyer may be helpful and useful. A lawyer may provide guidance during negotiation, explain options and offer representation to a divorcing spouse.