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How is a Texas Divorce Different for Those Over 60?

 Posted on July 10, 2024 in Divorce

TX divorce lawyerDivorce brings certain challenges, no matter the age of those involved. Younger couples must often deal with child custody as a major aspect of divorce, while middle-aged couples are more likely to be concerned about how assets will be split. But what about those who divorce after the age of 60? The divorce rate for this demographic has increased so significantly that it even has a name—"gray divorce."  The name is less than flattering, especially when coupled with the challenges facing those who begin divorce proceedings after the age of 60.   

The divorce rate for those between the ages of 55 and 64 is about 43 percent. This number only drops to 39 percent for those between the ages of 65 and 74. Plenty of people (usually younger or the children of these gray divorces) ask, "Why file for divorce after decades of marriage?" The answer to this question has many facets, along with issues unique to each couple.

In part, the rise in divorce rates among this demographic may be tied to increased life expectancies. A partner in an unhappy marriage could be looking at two or more decades in the future to remain unhappy. Since this age group consists largely of Baby Boomers—many who married early in life—some spouses may feel it is finally time to do something just for themselves.  

If you are over 60 and contemplating a divorce, you need to discuss certain issues with an experienced Galveston divorce lawyer. The financial aspect of your divorce is never more important than at this age, including splitting up a retirement plan. When you have an attorney who is looking out for your best interests, you can feel confident starting this new chapter of your life.

What Issues Should You Pay Particular Attention to During an Over-60 Divorce?

  • Division of assets—Financial issues are usually a factor in most divorces—and the division of assets is usually one of the more contentious issues in a divorce. Younger divorcing couples have a major advantage—they have several more decades to save for retirement and recoup money. Those over the age of 60 must get the best financial deal possible to protect their golden years. Division of the family home may or may not be a problem. Many seniors are ready to downsize and have less maintenance and upkeep. Even so, home ownership, while potentially a burden in later years, may also have some tax benefits, so discuss this issue with your attorney.  Dividing one spouse’s retirement can be complex, potentially requiring a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) to cover this division. If one spouse has been the primary wage earner, the other has the right to ask for alimony, particularly for a long marriage.
  • Serious health concerns—If one spouse is in poor mental or physical health, this may influence both alimony and how the estate is divided. A spouse with serious cognitive impairments like dementia or Alzheimer’s may require a court-appointed guardian or guardian ad litem to provide surrogate decision-making. Since cost and availability of healthcare are major concerns for those over 60, if Medicare is not yet an option, decisions about health insurance and payment for that insurance are necessary.
  • Will the children be okay?—Many of those over 60 contemplating divorce may not factor their grown children into the equation. After all, these are the same grown children with their own lives and possibly even their own children. It can be surprising to find that these same independent grown-ups revert to being little children who stubbornly resist mom and dad splitting up. Let them have their feelings, then explain the reasons for the divorce. In the end, even if they remain resistant, every person is entitled to a happy life.   

Contact a Galveston County, TX Divorce Lawyer for Your Over-60 Divorce

If you want to be certain your rights and future are fully protected during your late-in-life divorce, a Galveston, TX family law attorney from Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. can help. Divorce is never easy, but having a strong legal advocate makes the process go much more smoothly. Call Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. at 409-392-1511 to set up a free consultation with a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist.

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