According to numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of divorce in Texas has remained relatively stable during the past 10 years. In fact, the nation as a whole has experienced a similar lack of change when it comes to divorce rates.
However, despite these relatively flat overall divorce rates, an interesting study indicates that a particular group of married individuals has been experiencing an alarming increase in divorces in recent years – specifically, adults aged 50 and older.
Increase in Gray’ Divorces
The study, which was completed by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, discovered that the divorce rate among those aged 50 and above has actually doubled in the last 20 years. Moreover, researchers found that these divorces – often dubbed “gray” divorces – now account for roughly 1 in 4 divorces in the U.S., where two decades ago they only accounted for 1 in 10.
Several explanations have been posited for why these baby boomers are choosing to end their marriages – often after several decades. For example, many of these couples no longer have children at home, and as they near retirement they begin to question whether they want to spend their “twilight” years with their current spouses. In many instances, spouses discover they only remained together due to children and that they do not want to spend the next 20 to 30 years with the same person.
Complexities With Baby-Boomer Divorce
Although later-in-life divorces can often provide increased emotional well-being, dividing assets during these divorces can be quite problematic given the decades of commingling assets and extensive financial portfolios.
In particular, dividing up retirement funds such as pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s can involve extensive valuation and assessment processes. Similarly, couples involved in later-in-live divorces often have various investments – which can be quite substantial – that need to be divided.
Moreover, if a couple owns a family business, this will also need to be divided accordingly during a divorce. For instance in Texas, if a divorcing couple creates a business while married, it will have to be included in the property division settlement. However, if the business was owned by one of the spouses before the marriage, it is possible that only the appreciation of the business that occurred during the marriage is subject to division.
Completing a high net-worth “gray” divorce can be fraught with problems if done incorrectly. Consequently, if you are considering a divorce later in life, it is often advisable to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can help ensure assets are divided properly and assist in getting the assets your may be entitled to.