Are you facing a divorce after decades of marriage? In 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that the divorce rate among couples ages 50 or older increased by more than 100% between 1990 and 2015.
If you and your spouse are considering a so-called “gray divorce” in Texas, keep these unique considerations in mind.
Texas is a community property state, which means that the court divides marital property fairly between spouses. One of the biggest considerations in this category is probably your home. Keep in mind that staying in the marital home has specific advantages for older adults. After age 62, you may become eligible for an income-generating reverse mortgage, property tax waivers and exemptions, and special treatment for the primary residence for Medicaid and Medicare qualification.
Retirement and Social Security
Whether you are approaching retirement age or have already retired, the court requires fair division of retirement accounts through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This means that you may receive half of your spouse’s investments or have to pay half of your investments to a spouse who does not have individual retirement savings.
If your marriage lasted at least 10 years and you are older than 62, you are also eligible for up to 50% of your spouse’s retirement benefit without depleting his or her benefit amount. You can also possibly receive survivor benefits if your former spouse dies after the divorce.
The physical and mental health of each spouse plays a role in both property division and spousal support, particularly when one spouse can no longer earn income or has limited future income. If you are facing divorce and your spouse has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or another form of cognitive impairment, you may need to appoint a guardian to act on his or her behalf during and after the divorce.
Before filing, make sure you have a full picture of your marital assets and debts. Comprehensive planning will help drive the best decision for your retirement years.