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From Green to Gray: Issues in an Over-50 Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Texas high asset divorce, Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Two or three generations ago, divorce was not a realistic option for most people, due largely to moral, religious, and economic reasons. This was especially true for those over 50. Instead, many couples opted to lead separate lives, and perhaps even lived in separate households, but remained legally married.

However, divorce lost much of its moral stigma in the 1970s, through the advent of no-fault marriage dissolution laws. During roughly that same time, the earnings gap between men and women began to close. Although this gap still exists, it is nowhere near as yawning as it was in 1970. Finally, as for the religious objection, Pope Francis recently softened the Catholic Church's position on divorce.

Gray divorce is already twice as common today as it was in 1990. As we move further into the new millennium, couples over 50 may be going to divorce court in even larger numbers. These high-asset divorces are markedly different than actions between younger couples, and the distinction goes far beyond the numbers on a birth certificate.

Minor Children

Although people of this age rarely have minor children of their own, grandparent visitation is sometimes an issue. All children, regardless of age, sometimes "blame" one parent or the other for the divorce. Minors often refuse to interact with the targeted parents, and adults may bar or limit visitation between the targeted parents and their grandchildren. A complex child custody dispute is sometimes a result.

Under Section 143 of the Family Code, suits for periodic visitation are difficult, although certainly not impossible, to win. The grandparent must overcome the "father/mother knows best" parental presumption in the Family Code; however, the judge will typically order access unless the parent has a neutral and compelling reason for denying access.

Property Division

Simply by virtue of the marriage's length, questions that are merely troublesome in some cases are downright complicated in high-net worth gray divorce cases. These matters include:

  • Retirement Accounts: 50 percent of $10,000 is a lot of money, but 50 percent of $200,000 is considerably more.
  • Home Equity: Many empty-nesters choose to downsize, for a variety of reasons. If the marital residence is sold, how should the proceeds be divided?
  • Spousal Support: The length of the marriage weighs in favor of a large award, but the obligee spouse's earning capacity may have the opposite effect.

In all these situations, a set-off may be appropriate. For example, the wife may accept a smaller share of the husband's retirement account in exchange for a greater share of the home's equity.

Whatever color your marriage dissolution may be, contact an aggressive Cedar Park divorce attorney for a consultation. After-hours appointments are available.

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