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Complications when Divorcing Later in Life

Increasing numbers of Americans are divorcing in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s. We aren’t surprised. It’s never too late to start over in life, and many marriages have run their course. People are starting new relationships well into their 80s, so there is no reason to stay stuck in a marriage that is not working for you (or your spouse). At Tad Nelson & Associates, we have worked with clients of all ages who seek to end their marriages.

However, certain complications arise more frequently for those who seek divorce later in life. Our Galveston divorce lawyer examines some of the most common issues in this article.

Dividing Assets when on Public Assistance

Many older Texans are on Medicaid, which is a government health insurance program for low income Americans. Medicaid is means tested. If you have too many assets or too much income, you will be ineligible for benefits.

Medicaid typically excludes from consideration the home you live in. For that reason, a person on Medicaid who is divorcing might want to avoid selling the home and pocketing cash or having their ex buy out their share. That cash could disqualify you from receiving benefits. Instead, you might insist on getting the home and having your ex take an off-setting amount of other community property.

Avoiding High Maintenance Assets

Apart from Medicaid, receiving a home in divorce comes with complications. For example: upkeep. As we age, people have less energy to do yard work or repairs around the house. You might find in your 70s that you are ready to move into an apartment or a retirement community where someone else will do these tasks.

Qualifying for Spousal Social Security Benefits

If someone was married for 10 years, they can seek Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s work history. If you haven’t yet made it to the 10-year mark, you might want to delay your divorce so you will qualify.

This is a concern especially for those clients who did not work for most of the marriage. For example, you might have stayed home with the children to raise them or provide non-wage support to your spouse’s career. Making sure you qualify for Social Security benefits is critical for securing a comfortable retirement.

Alimony & Older Divorcees

Alimony is not guaranteed in a Texas divorce. However, you might qualify depending on the length of marriage and your need. If so, then you should consider what will happen if your ex predeceases you. At that point, your alimony will get cut off, and you might have insufficient resources to support yourself.

One option is to have your spouse buy life insurance and name you as the beneficiary. This would provide a pool of money in the event of death. We can negotiate the purchase of life insurance as part of a divorce settlement.

Retirement Considerations

A divorce can take a big chunk out of your finances. That’s true regardless of age. However, younger divorcees will have more time to rethink their retirement strategy and make changes so they can stay on track. For example, a person in their 30s might need to double the amount they save for retirement, but they have time to make that change.

Older divorcees often need to reconsider their retirement strategy. Unfortunately, you have less time to salt money away. On the other hand, you have a more realistic sense of your expenses, including medical expenses as you age. You should talk about your retirement concerns with your divorce lawyer, because financial planning is crucial to a successful divorce.

Speeding up a Divorce

Some older clients are eager to speed up a divorce because they realize their time on earth is limited. Mediation is an option for older clients. You can typically speed up the process and possibly save money, which is another big concern. In mediation, each side meets together with a mediator. Your lawyer can attend to offer advice. The goal is to talk about any disputes regarding divorce with the goal of reaching common ground.

Call Tad Nelson & Associates Today

Divorce brings new opportunities, but also challenges. Anyone contemplating divorce should get advice from a seasoned family law attorney to understand the process and any pitfalls to watch out for. Please call our firm to speak with a League City divorce lawyer about your situation. We have worked with clients of all ages and different backgrounds to get the divorce they need to move on productively. Call us  today to schedule your consultation.