If you’re divorcing later in life, there may be special issues that are relevant to your case. According to Psychology Today, gray divorce, or divorce over the age of 50, is more common now than ever before.
Personal challenges, financial difficulties, and long-term disagreements can all contribute to divorce later in life. Older couples going through a divorce may have to grapple with family-owned businesses, alimony considerations, and retirement accounts.
If you’re facing a gray divorce, it’s important to understand the unique considerations that may be relevant to you. Here is your guide to gray divorce issues from the Austin family law attorney team at Benouis Law.
Dividing Business Assets In a Gray Divorce
If there’s a family-owned business in a divorce, going about valuing the business and dividing ownership of the business can be a critical part of the legal proceedings. In Texas, a business is a marital asset.
If one of the spouses owns a business, the parties must value the business and create a plan for ownership of the business after the divorce. To build your case, you can work with expert accountants as well as an experienced family law attorney to determine the value of the business and how this value could impact your divorce.
You and your attorney must also carefully prepare language for your judgment of divorce that properly states who retains ownership of the business after the divorce and the obligations of each party relative to the business.
Alimony In a Gray Divorce
The purpose of alimony is to ensure that neither party is impoverished after the divorce. As parties age, they may have changes in their health and their ability to work. One or both parties may have altered their career path significantly on account of the marriage or to raise children. These factors become more significant as parties age.
Texas has laws that determine when the court can order alimony. If either of the spouses lacks enough to live on after the divorce and they are unable to earn an income because of a physical or mental disability, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse.
The court may also order alimony for a marriage that is 10 years or longer when one of the spouses can’t earn enough to meet their basic needs. It’s up to the party seeking support and their attorney to prove that they need financial assistance after the divorce.
There are a number of factors that the court considers when it determines the length and amount of an alimony award. When a spouse has a physical or mental disability, support may continue indefinitely. In other cases, there are time limitations based on the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage is 30 years or longer, spousal support can last up to 10 years.
In a gray divorce, the issue of alimony can be a source of disagreement. One party may have long-term needs. Another party may be required to make long-term payments. If you’re unable to agree on an alimony amount, you must prepare the evidence and legal arguments to present your request at trial. In Texas, alimony is also called spousal maintenance.
Pensions and Retirement Accounts
Retirement benefits are a key consideration in any gray divorce. A retirement account may contain funds earned both during and before the marriage. In Texas, retirement accounts earned during the marriage are marital property. When funds are intermingled from before and during the marriage, determining the value of the marital portion of a retirement account can be a challenge without the help of an experienced divorce attorney.
The court is not required to split each retirement account equally. In addition to preparing the arguments for equitable distribution of retirement assets, you may need to work to determine whether retirement accounts exist. In many gray divorces, one party may be in the dark about the existence of marital assets. In addition, there are eligibility requirements for a spouse to receive direct payment of a U.S. military pension.
In a gray divorce, it’s important to understand the division of retirement accounts. Determining the value of a pension can also be an important consideration. If the judgment of divorce divides a pension for direct payment, there is additional paperwork that must be drafted carefully in order to put the judgment of divorce into effect.
Protecting Your Assets In a Gray Divorce
There are often unique issues present in a gray divorce. Retirement accounts, alimony considerations, and business assets can all make a divorce complex for older divorcing couples.
If you’re considering divorce or you are already beginning the divorce process, the legal team at Benouis Law can give you the help you need. Backed by years of experience working with families across Texas, we can help you identify the issues present in your case and work towards the best result under the laws of the State of Texas.
Contact the Austin family law attorneys at Benouis Law by calling 512-764-3932 today for a divorce consultation.