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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Dividing Assets in a “Grey Divorce”

What unique considerations exist in divorces involving those over the age of 50?


The term “grey divorce” was coined to describe divorce among couples over the age of 50.  Grey divorces have become increasingly common in recent years, and divorcing at an older age brings with it unique considerations.  According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the overall divorce rate in America has dropped in the past 20 years, but among those over the age of 50, the divorce rate has actually doubled.  The increase in divorces among those over the age 50 has been theorized to be linked to the increasing life span and the growing older population, among other factors.  Anyone divorcing at a later age will want to contact an experienced divorce lawyer who can assist in the pressing matters of concern to older couples. 


Older Couples May Have More Community Assets 


 Older couple who decide to divorce will often have more at stake.  Couples in their fifties, sixties, and beyond have at times spent decades together building their marital assets.  In the event of a divorce, it can become quite complicated to split these assets in a fair manner.  Additionally, grey divorces will almost always involve retirement assets, which are among the most difficult assets to divide in a divorce.


Per Texas law, all property that is earned or acquired during the marriage will be deemed community property, which is owned equally by both spouses.  Community property will be divided in accordance with what a court deems “just and right,” which does not necessarily mean equally.  Separate property will need to be proven to belong to one party by clear evidence.


When a couple has been together for a long time, there will be significant community assets.  Community assets will likely include the family home, retirement funds, bank accounts, and potentially investments.  Often, mediation will prove valuable to divorcing older spouses who, with the help of an attorney, can at times reach an agreement as to the division of marital assets. If the matter proceeds to court, the judge may order the sale of the family home and split of retirement assets.  Alternatively, the court could award the home to one spouse, while offsetting the other spouse with a greater share of the bank account funds or retirement assets.  An experienced divorce attorney will be able to assist you through even the most complex of divorces.  


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