Key Elements of a Divorce for persons over the age of 50

If you are a person who is over the age of fifty and considering a divorce there are factors for you to consider beyond those that younger persons would need to think about. What sort of considerations, you may be asking? The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have identified the following as both relevant and extremely impactful examples:

Retirement Accounts

Two of our clients recently settled divorce cases where their spouse’s retirement accounts were central issues. One account was a military plan and the other was an IRA through a private company.

One client was able to leave mediation with a sizeable amount of the retirement plan awarded to her. Our other client was not as fortunate due to her not having been married to her spouse for long enough to qualify for benefits.

Texas is a community property State and contributions to a retirement account during the course of a marriage is typically classified as community property in a Texas marriage.

However, federal law on military requirement holds differently. An experienced family law attorney knows the difference in retirement plans and can advise you on what to expect out of your or your spouse’s retirement benefits.

Investment Income

Also known as “passive income”. Items that fall under this heading include dividends from stocks owned by either spouse and income from rental properties. Based on what the parties settle on or what a judge determines a just and equitable division, the money from investments is key to unraveling a divorce case.

Social Security income

Though social security income does not fall under the normal rules associated with community property in Texas, this source of income still has an important role to play for divorcing parties over the age of fifty.

Access to these funds can begin as early as age 62 and as late as age 70. If you are in this age bracket, have not been remarried and have been divorced for at least two years then you too can get benefits based on you ex-spouse’s contributions to social security.

Disability income

A recently client of ours had recently become disabled due to a car accident that left him with severe back injuries. Fortunately for this client he had a disability insurance policy in place that would wind up paying him and his family $9,000 per month for as long as he is considered disabled by an independent physician.

However, in a divorce setting this disability income is considered just as employment income is- subject to division by a Court.

These four examples should go a long way towards illustrating the point that no two divorces are the same for any one client. Having a long term perspective as well as experience in working cases like these is what separates the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC from other attorneys in Southeast Texas.

Our lawyers understand that in additional to the strictly financial aspects of a post-fifty year old divorce there are health and well being issues to contemplate as well.

Health as a determining factor in divorce asset allocation

In Texas, for a spouse to be awarded spousal support by a Court the parties must have been married for at least ten years. Other factors, including the potential and actual earning capacities of the parties and the health of the parties can have a dramatic effect on what the Court deems equitable in awarding spousal support.

If a spouse can show a Court that they have little prospect to earn an income sufficient to provide for their (and possibly their child’s) well-being, then spousal support may be awarded. By the same token if the health of the paying spouse is compromised for some reason then spousal support may be off the table.

Tips on how to handle your post-fifty divorce case

No matter how prepared a client believes themselves to be, it is likely that most persons who enter into a divorce find themselves surprised at how divorces after the age of fifty can be as complicate as divorces for younger persons.

What steps can a person over the age do to best ensure they are able to hit the ground running once their case is underway? Please consider the following:

Know what is going into your bank accounts and what is coming out

This may seem like common sense to the extreme but I can tell you all from experience that knowing how many bills that a person and their family have is not a given in many marriages.

During the divorce it is essential to learn where cutbacks in costs are needed. After a divorce, getting a tax professional and a financial expert in your corner can be incredibly helpful.

Keep open lines of communication with your family

In a recent case, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC came to represent a woman whose marriage of 43 years was on the outs. As sad as that was, her adult children are no longer talking to her since the divorce paperwork was filed.

Our client would tell me that her kids mean the world to her but that they were deeply hurt by their parents getting a divorce. In talking more with the client, however, I found that she was keeping information from her children about her motivations for the divorce. In this way the kids felt isolated from their mother and naturally drifted to the parent who was able to discuss the case with more honesty.

Experience, Dependability and a Client Driven Focus- Hallmarks of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

With a team of seven family law attorneys on board, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC has the sort of “boots on the ground” experience that clients need and deserve in Texas.

Putting the interests of their client first (before themselves) is a necessity for attorneys but by placing our most sincere attention on the needs of our client, we are able to hone in on what it is that will ensure our client’s best opportunity to be successful in leading a post-divorce life. Please contact our office today for a free of charge consultation with one of our family law professionals.

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