What Issues Arise During a Gray Divorce?

Divorces are increasing among older Americans.

Not all marriages work out. In fact, some estimates suggest 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. This is true for couples in their 20s, 30s and 40s, but couples in their 50s and 60s are unique. For these latter age groups, divorce rates have increased since the 1990s. A divorce involving older couples is sometimes referred to as a “gray divorce” case, and they have many unique issues to deal with.

e 1990s. A divorce involving older couples is sometimes referred to as a “gray divorce” case, and they have many unique issues to deal with.

Many people in this age group have retirement plans, wills and other financial assets to consider. Some divorcing spouses in this demographic have not worked for years or decades, which leaves them financially vulnerable. These factors and many others contribute to these special cases. Here are some of these issues and how the court treats them.

Retirement Plans During a Gray Divorce

Gray divorces may sometimes cause issues with retirement plans. Texas is a community property state when it comes to divorces. Which means retirement plans are often split between former spouses. For some Texas retirement plans, dividing such property may result in an “uneven split” because the court divides property in a way that is “fair and just” but not necessarily equal. 

Retirement plan contributions may or may not be community property during a Texas divorce. For example, contributions made before marriage are separate property and not community property.

Military pension plans may also factor into a gray divorce case due to the large number of former service members in Texas. It is possible for the other spouse to obtain a portion of the benefits from a military pension. The same is true of other employer-based pensions.  

Our Lewisville divorce attorney can help determine how a divorce could affect your retirement plan.

Spousal Maintenance Agreements in a Gray Divorce 

Spousal maintenance, also known as contractual alimony, may also be an issue during a gray divorce because older divorcees have a higher risk of involuntary retirement. Old age may cause health conditions that keep people from being able to work. Even if the court grants contractual alimony, payments may only continue for a couple of years. If the person paying spousal maintenance can no longer hold a job due to debilitating health issues, then payments may end sooner than expected. 

Spousal Maintenance negotiations may be trickier for gray divorce cases, but it may also be easier to receive contractual alimony after a long-term marriage. This is true even if the spousal maintenance lasts for only a couple of years.

Fortunately, our Denton County divorce attorney can help resolve spousal support issues for older divorcees. Additional options for payments might be possible. 

Social Security Benefits in a Gray Divorce

In some cases, you can also recover Social Security benefits from your former spouse. This will depend upon the length of your marriage, your income and your spouse’s income. However, remarrying will halt these Social Security benefits. 

How Our Lewisville Divorce Attorney Can Help

Lewisville divorce lawyer Jared Julian can help older couples throughout Denton County review their options for divorce. As an experienced Texas family law attorney and mediator, Jared Julian can help divorcing spouses resolve issues caused by a gray divorce.

You may contact The Julian Firm, P.C. at (972) 459-4400 or by using our online case review form.