With gray divorces continuing to rise, older couples in Texas might be concerned with protecting their retirement plans. While a split is stressful on couples of all ages, older couples face having to make very difficult decisions that can impact their financial situation during retirement, when the risk of having to live on half the income with the same amount of expenses is a real possibility.

When people are in long-term marriages, they tend to tie their assets together, which makes it an even more complex process to plan for divorce near retirement. In the case of a high asset divorce, couples might be looking at assets that include their home, investment accounts and retirement accounts, among others. In the case of a gray divorce, experts recommend evaluating their financial situation before any negotiations begin. This can be done with a financial planner, to assess the values of the assets and make a clear plan for post-divorce finances.

The first step to prepare for a gray divorce is to gather copies of all the financial documents, including at least three years’ worth of tax returns, as well as bank statements, insurance policies, receipts, car registrations and retirement accounts. It is also a good idea to run credit checks on themselves and their ex-spouse and find the amounts of any debt. Negotiations should be done in a practical manner, without letting emotions rule. Preparing for negotiations should also include calculating the tax implications of any division of assets, since this can have an impact on the future.

Residents who are preparing for divorce can also benefit from the guidance a lawyer with family law experience can offer. A lawyer can provide information about state law, help with planning for the process and offer representation for the negotiations and court appearances.