Common Financial Concerns in a Gray Divorce

Gray or late-life divorce is a divorce between a couple over the age of 50. While getting divorced at any age can have a financial impact on the individuals involved, there are unique financial concerns that those involved in a gray divorce can be aware of, which we discuss in this article.

Potential Financial Impact of a Gray Divorce

Getting divorced can be expensive especially if the divorce involves a large number of financial assets, either party fails to disclose or intentionally hides assets, or is settled in court rather than through mediation or the uncontested divorce process. However, the divorce itself is not the only financial consideration; couples who are getting divorced later in life may face unique financial concerns involving:

  • Estate planning matters. If either party dies during or after the divorce without having updated their estate plan, their spouse can still inherit based on the decedent’s will or intestate succession (if there is not a will). You should consult with an attorney concerning when you can update certain estate planning documents and remove your spouse as a beneficiary from accounts. Estate planning issues are also a concern in gray divorce as either or both parents may worry about how to protect family heirlooms and inheritances that have been placed in a trust from division.
  • Inflation. Before and after your divorce, you should create a budget to account for your expenses and bills post-divorce. However, a common gray divorce mistake is that people do not account for increased costs and underestimate their expenses. Failure to accurately understand the costs of daily and monthly bills can impact whether you request spousal maintenance or are fully prepared.
  • Insurance. If either party is included in the other party’s work-based insurance plan, they will have to determine how to invest in a new coverage plan. Unless you can apply for Medicare, you may struggle to find an insurer that will give you a fair annual rate or offer you coverage.
  • Property division. In many gray divorces, couples worry about who will get the house (and other valuable assets) in their divorce. Texas is a community property state, which means that marital assets and debts will be divided equally. Unless your home was acquired by either party before your marriage, it will be subject to division. In dividing the assets and debts acquired during the marriage, the courts will consider a variety of factors including each party’s separate assets, earning capabilities, financial welfare, etc.
  • Reaccumulating wealth. While younger couples who get divorced have more time to recover financially from divorce, older couples do not have as much time.
  • Retirement accounts. If either party has an IRA or a retirement account that is considered marital or commingled property, the money in the account will be subject to division.
  • Social security benefits. If either party receives Social Security benefits and is over 62 years old, the other party can claim benefits based on their spouse’s earning record if they have been married for ten or more years. The other party may also be able to receive half of their spouse’s benefits or defer payments until they reach retirement age.
  • Spousal maintenance. A financial concern is spousal maintenance, which refers to the periodic payments made to one party from the future income of the other. Whether you anticipate being the payee or payor, spousal maintenance can be a complex issue as many couples involved in a gray divorce have been married for many years and a key factor in determining whether a party is eligible to receive maintenance is the duration of the marriage.

Get Legal Help

With over 35 years of collective experience, the attorneys at The Clark Law Firm can help you navigate your gray divorce. Our attorneys can advise you of your legal rights and options and:

  • Help you file for an uncontested or contested divorce (Please note: an uncontested divorce is typically less expensive).
  • Explain the financial and legal consequences of certain decisions
  • Connect you with other experts who can help with your case (i.e. forensic accountant, private investigator, etc.)
  • Help you protect your financial future
  • Offer an unbiased opinion

To request information or speak with a member of our team, contact our family law attorneys online or call (817) 435-4970 today.


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