There is no way to predict which Texas marriages will last a lifetime and which will not. However, data shows that, among older spouses, divorce has been consistently on the rise for about the last 20 years. Ending a marriage at age 50 or beyond often triggers certain issues that a younger couple might not consider as challenging to resolve.
While estate planning is a topic that is technically relevant to any adult, it is mostly older couples who are likely to have taken steps to execute a formal plan. If a divorce occurs, an existing estate plan may need to be updated. For instance, the removal of a former spouse’s name as a beneficiary or on a life insurance policy or power of attorney might be an issue requiring resolution.
Retirement benefits are another important issue affecting many older spouses in divorce. Whether the benefits will go to one spouse only or be divided between spouses as marital property depends on several factors, including when the account was set up. In addition to these issues, health care expense concerns often arise when older people file for divorce, especially if one spouse has been solely dependent on the other for financial support during the marriage.
It pays to meet with an experienced Texas family law attorney before heading to court or negotiating a settlement, whether in mediation or otherwise. An attorney can make recommendations and advocate on behalf of a concerned spouse to help protect his or her financial interests in a divorce. It is also typically less stressful to let an attorney do the talking in court.