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Unique Issues for Couples Going Through a Gray Divorce

 Posted on October 13, 2021 in Divorce

Frisco divorce lawyerSeveral months ago, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were divorcing after almost 30 years of marriage. While many in the media and public voiced their surprise that the couple were splitting up after so many years, divorce among older couples – sometimes referred to as “gray divorce”  – is becoming quite common. Research shows that one in four people who file for divorce in the U.S. are over the age of 50 and more than half of those divorces involve marriages that had endured for at least two decades. 

While every divorce has similar issues to work through, there are some issues that are unique to older couples that younger couples usually do not have to consider when they split up. These issues – if not properly addressed – can leave a person unprepared for life after divorce. Having a Frisco divorce attorney protecting your interests can make a significant difference in how prepared you are.

Pensions and Other Benefits

One important issue that couples going through a divorce have to consider is how their pensions and other retirement accounts will be divided. Any retirement accounts and pensions will be divided using a court-issued Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). However, one issue that an older couple may face when dividing these accounts that a younger divorcing couple does not is that their retirement date is not that far away, and they may find themselves facing financial hardships they are unprepared for. If a spouse’s retirement account is suddenly 50 percent less than what they had planned on for retirement because their ex received the other half in the divorce settlement, that reduction can have a consequential effect on the quality of retirement life they will experience.

Another retirement issue that someone going through a gray divorce may have to think about is their Social Security benefits. If a spouse has not remarried, and the marriage lasted more than 10 years, they are entitled to collect Social Security based on their ex-spouse’s work record if they would otherwise qualify for it, and if the benefit they would receive based on their own work record would be less than that based on their ex’s work record. The good news for the other spouse is that this will not affect how much they will receive in Social Security benefits at all.

Health Concerns and Estate Planning

Another common issue many older couples face in divorce is the reality of declining health, and the associated ramifications. If one spouse suffers from an unfortunate health issue, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease, it can affect whether or not the healthy spouse will have to provide the ailing spouse with spousal support because they are not able to work and support themselves.

It is important for older couples to make sure that all of their estate planning documents are current. This includes any wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other documents that make up the estate. Once the divorce is final and the marital assets have been distributed per the divorce decree, it is crucial for each spouse to redo their wills, change beneficiaries on insurance policies, trusts, and other financial accounts.

Contact a Collin County Divorce Lawyer for Legal Assistance

If you and your spouse have made the decision to end your marriage, there are a number of important issues that will need to be decided. In order to make sure that your future is protected, and you receive your fair share of the marital estate, you should have a skilled Frisco, TX divorce attorney advocating for you. Call The Law Office of Linda Risinger at 972-294-6533 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how our firm can help.




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