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What issues are important in a ‘gray divorce’?

| May 28, 2020 | Divorce, Property Division

There are many hardships that people in Texas go through during their lives. This is true for people’s marriages as well and couples need to work through many difficulties throughout a marriage. However, for many different reasons the difficulties can become too much. As a result many marriages end in divorce each year. This is true for people of all different ages, but one demographic has seen a dramatic increase in divorce in recent years.

This demographic are people whose children have left the house and are older. Due to the age of this demographic, these divorces have been called “gray divorces.” As people grow  older, their concerns tend to be different than when they are younger. They are no longer providing for their children’s daily needs and their focus tends to turn back to themselves and their needs. Also, people are generally looking towards retirement and begin to plan in earnest for it. Because of this shift, the important issues in a divorce shift as well.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts such as a 401(k), IRA or pension are all assets and the marital portion of these accounts will need to be divided in a divorce. As people going through a divorce later in life may have been married for a long time much of these accounts may be marital and their spouse could be entitled to a significant portion of them. This is especially true if one spouse earned more than the other and has a larger amount in their accounts. On the other side the spouse who did not earn as much may need the extra retirement money in order to retire as they would like as well.

Dividing Real Property

People going through a gray divorce may have acquired a home and may have a second vacation property as well. These properties will need to be divided as well. First the couple will need to determine if one of them wants to keep the property or whether it makes more sense to sell them. If one spouse wants to keep a house, they will need to figure out how to pay the other spouse their equitable portion of the equity in the house. This can create complications. Also, there could be non-marital claims that a spouse may have that will need to be traced creating additional complications.

Insurance

Another important issue is health insurance, especially in marriage where only one spouse works and has health insurance available. After the divorce, the spouse who is not working will most likely no longer be eligible to be on the insurance plan. This means they will need to obtain their own insurance and without an employer sponsored plan this could be quite expensive. This will need to be factored in any monthly budget planning and could be a factor in determining whether a spouse will receive alimony as well as the amount and duration of it.

There are many issues that people in Texas need to consider as they divorce, but in gray divorces the focus is on the assets and property as usually there are no issues regarding minor children. These can be complicated issues and understanding the legal aspects and impact of these decisions is important.

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