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Financial impact of gray divorces

In Texas, an increasing number of seniors are choosing to get divorced. Divorces after age 50 are called gray divorces, and they have more than doubled since 1990. These gray divorces can present unique challenges for older adults. Since they are closer to retirement and have potentially amassed substantial assets during marriage, the property division process can be more difficult.

According to a study that was completed by researchers at Bowling Green State University, older couples who get divorced often see their household wealth decrease by half. Older women who get divorced experience financial declines that are nine times greater than married wives.

Since people who divorce at age 50 or older are near retirement age, they do not have as much time to save for their twilight years. The retirement accounts and 401(k) accounts that they have built during marriage may be subject to division in their divorces as community property. The spouse who loses half of his or her retirement account balance might not have enough time to rebuild any savings.

Older adults who are thinking about getting divorced might want to talk to financial advisors and family law attorneys before they file their petitions. A family law attorney can work with the financial advisor in an effort to help the client to minimize the negative financial consequences of the separation. Furthermore, legal counsel might negotiate with the client's estranged spouse to try to secure a property division agreement that protects the client's financial interests and the ability to retire.

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