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The consequences of a gray divorce

There's never a good time to experience divorce in Texas. However, ending a marriage can have a greater financial impact on older couples. Successful retirement planning takes time, and couples calling it quits later in life have fewer years to rebound from the repercussions that accompany marital dissolution. Despite these potential issues, so-called "gray divorce" rates -- those involving spouses aged 50 and up -- have doubled since the 1990s.

The real-life consequence of ending a shared life involves splitting assets while essentially doubling expenses. This can be daunting under the best of circumstances. However, choosing to have a collaborative divorce can be a good first step for couples deciding to break things off. In this process, the parties work with mediators to find a workable solution rather than simply trying to win at all costs in a courtroom battle.

If a couple has been married for at least 10 years, a spouse may receive Social Security benefits based on the higher-earning spouse's income. Couples who are nearing the decade mark but ready to move on would be well-served to delay finalizing their marital dissolution until crossing over the 10-year mark. The added benefits can make a substantial difference in retirement planning for eligible spouses. Another factor to consider is the upcoming change in tax law regarding alimony. Starting with all divorces in 2019, alimony will no longer be a tax deductible for payers.

The process of ending a marriage should never be taken lightly. Sound strategy is always recommended but especially so in gray or high-asset divorces. Consulting a qualified family law attorney can give couples clarity and insight regarding their options.

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