While many people may think of middle-aged couples with children being the primary divorce demographic, baby boomers are quickly evening the playing field. According to statistics from Bowling Green University, the divorce rate doubled for those 50 and over in the 20 years from 1990 to 2010. These divorces are commonly referred to as “gray divorces,” and they can be especially complicated when it comes to property division.
While people over 50 will generally not have custody issues since the children are grown in the majority of cases, finances take center stage. If the couple has been married for a long time, they usually have many joint assets. They also probably didn’t plan to divorce, which means that there is likely joint bank accounts and retirement accounts that both parties are entitled to.
In general, retirement accounts and pensions are considered joint property and are subject to equitable division in a divorce. While this can be a good thing if one party has mainly stayed at home while the other worked to support the family, it can mean the person who has been the sole supporter cannot retire as planned because half of the money is gone. These people may need to delay retirement, which means a significant shift in the expected lifestyle.
It’s important to discuss your divorce and financial situation with your Texas attorney as soon as possible in the process. You need to know exactly what you are entitled to under the law and what you may have to give up — either as part of your expected lifestyle or directly to the other party in the form of alimony.
Source: The Washington Post, “Gray divorce can drag both parties into the red,” Rodney Brooks, April 09, 2016