Unique divorce challenges for older adults

Older couples in Texas may face financial challenges in divorce that younger ones do not, primarily centered around the fact that fewer years ahead in the workforce means a potentially reduced ability to recover financially. After planning a retirement together, these individuals will have to think about what their lives will be like after the divorce. This can help them determine what they need in the divorce settlement.

Gathering important financial documents and making a list of all shared assets and debts as well as any individual property can help a person begin building a picture of what property will need to be divided. Chief among these assets for many couples will be one or more retirement accounts. Rules must be followed when dividing these accounts in the event of a divorce, and they vary depending on the type of account. People who are concerned about a spouse hiding assets might want to consult an attorney about how to protect themselves.

Some people make big changes after a divorce. They may decide to work to improve their communities, start a foundation or spend time traveling. Some people may want to make sure they can help their children and grandchildren pay for their education. For individuals with little liquidity, it can be important to build an emergency savings fund.

People who are considering divorce may want to talk about these priorities with an attorney as they prepare to negotiate a divorce agreement. In Texas, assets are supposed to be split equally since it is a community property state. This actually still leaves some flexibility in the hands of the individuals getting divorced. They do not have to divide every asset exactly in half and might find a better way to split their property without having to go to litigation.