If you are over the age of 65 and you have decided to bring your marriage to an end, it will be important to carefully assess the unique factors involved in getting divorced as a senior citizen. While many aspects of the divorce process are the same regardless of your age, wealth and retirement status, there are some unique considerations involved in getting a divorce in your later years.

1. Retirement Savings and Distributions

As a senior citizen, there is a good chance that your retirement plan is among your most-valuable assets. This means that it will also be one of the most-important aspects of your divorce. While retirement plans are treated similarly to other types of assets under Texas’s community property law, there are still unique aspects to addressing retirement savings and distributions in a divorce.

How much, if any, of your retirement plan qualifies as “separate property”? With regard to any portion that qualifies as “community property,” what is the appropriate method for calculating the value of retirement assets or a retirement income stream during a divorce? Do you have other assets you are willing to give up in exchange to protect your retirement? These are just a few of the numerous questions you will need to answer.

2. Estate Plan and Medical Care

If you have an estate plan, you will want to make changes to your plan sooner rather than later. If something unexpected were to happen and your estate plan still named your spouse as your primary beneficiary and caretaker, this could create an extremely challenging situation for your family. Who should receive your assets in the event of your death? Who should make decisions about your medical care in the event of incapacity?

3. Spousal Support (Alimony)

In Texas, the maximum spousal support available in a divorce is determined by the length of the marriage. For a marriage lasting less than 10 years, no spousal support may be awarded (absent special circumstances). For longer marriages, the maximum duration of alimony is:

  • 10 to 20 years of marriage – Five years of spousal support
  • 20 to 30 years of marriage – Seven years of spousal support
  • 30 or more years of marriage – 10 years of spousal support

4. Separate vs. Community Property

In Texas, community property is subject to distribution in a divorce, while separate property is not. Separate property includes any assets you owned prior to the date of your marriage (with some exceptions). However, even if you considered certain assets to be “yours” (such as a prized collection, boat, or automobile), if you acquired these assets during your marriage, they are likely to be classified as community property.

As you prepare for your divorce, you should begin making a list of the assets that you believe qualify as separate and community property. You should also think critically about your priorities. Which community property assets do you want to keep (or make sure get passed on to your children)? Thinking about these issues now will allow you to make strategic decisions during the divorce process.

Speak with a Divorce Lawyer in McKinney, TX

Are you considering a divorce after age 65? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced McKinney, TX divorce lawyers in confidence, please call (214) 726-1450 or inquire online today.