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Author: Tessmer Law Firm

In all cases, “gray” divorce or otherwise, make sure that any tax issues are reviewed prior to finalizing.  This ensures that neither spouse ends up owing a tax bill that could have been reduced, or avoided entirely. To split some assets, a divorcing couple will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is designed to protect the couple from owing taxes when retirement funds are transferred from one to another.  This is not a “do-it-yourself” document.  A QDRO must be properly written, or you can incur tax penalties.  This is another good reason to consult a qualified family law...

Retirement savings become especially important in a “gray” divorce. It is best to try to avoid accessing retirement savings before retirement, if possible. Spouses in a “gray” divorce have fewer working years left to contribute to separate retirement savings accounts, and less time to recover from any depletion of retirement accounts. Early withdrawals from retirement funds can result in penalties and fees for withdrawals before age 59 ½ as well as potential increased taxes and delays in retirement. Both spouses may have to delay their retirement or adjust their standard of living to either contribute more to their savings now...

In Texas, alimony is called spousal support or spousal maintenance.  Spousal support provides a spouse with periodic payments from the former spouse's future income that continues after the divorce. Spousal support is not automatically ordered.  Many factors are considered by the Court when determining if spousal support is appropriate, such as each spouse’s financial resources, education and employment skills, and the length of the marriage. To find out if you may qualify to receive spousal support, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney....

Social Security rules are complex, and a “gray” divorce or remarriage can affect your benefits. Although the court cannot divide Social Security benefits, many people going through a “gray” divorce may qualify for benefits based on their spouse’s earning history.     Under current Social Security rules, in order to qualify for benefits based upon a former spouse’s record, you must have been married for at least 10 years before divorcing; be at least 62 years old; remain unmarried; have a former spouse who is qualified for benefits; and be qualified for a lesser amount of benefits based on your record....

This topic causes a great deal of anxiety and concern in divorce clients in the “gray” divorce age group. The financial stakes are high. Here are some suggestions:   Immediately begin exploring your options for health insurance coverage;  this is one of the biggest concerns and biggest budget items for those 50+ years of age. Project accurate living expense needs for post-divorce. Consider asking your attorney to consult with a financial planner during divorce. Be aware of your own tolerance for risk. Accept that your lifestyle may change. Some people simply have to return to the workplace or work for a longer...

Before your divorce, you may have insurance policies, a Will or Powers of Attorney that benefit the other spouse, or that name the other spouse as an executor. Before filing for divorce, you may want to make changes. Sometimes changes are prohibited after a divorce is filed, so check with your attorney. You may not want your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to have powers under a health care or general power of attorney — especially not when there is a lot of conflict and life/death decisions are at stake. During your divorce, an Estate Plan can be a relevant part of a property settlement...

Start with an accurate list of necessary and discretionary living expenses. You must know how much income you'll need — whether that is spousal support, passive income from assets, or employment. With less time to bounce back from the economic upheaval associated with divorce, accurate budget projections are crucial in the “gray” divorce. We encourage clients to work with a financial professional or financially savvy friend or family member who can challenge their assumptions and categories of expenses. Doing so is cost effective and produces a more precise outcome....

“Gray” divorce is a term referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older (gray-haired) couples in long-lasting marriages. Since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans over age 50 has doubled, and has more than doubled for those over age 65.  Today, 1 in 4 people going through a divorce in the U.S. is age 50 or older, and nearly 1 in 10 is over 65.  More than half of all “gray” divorces are to couples in first marriages, and 55% of “gray” divorces are between couples who have been married for 20+ years.   Couples divorcing after age...

Under Federal HIPAA law, once you turn 18 your parents can no longer discuss your health and medical care with your doctor, or with campus health services, unless you give consent. The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act prevents your parents from discussing your grades, even if they pay your tuition. Finally, privacy laws prevent your parents from being able to discuss or gain information about your bank accounts and credit cards.   And now, our last tip about turning 18 and the law. No discussion on the subject is complete without mentioning sex laws. In the state of Texas, the legal age...

Once you turn 18, you can serve on a jury.  You are now responsible for paying taxes. If you are an 18-year old male, you must register for the Selective Service. Failure to register could mean a $250,000 fine or jail time, plus the loss of student loans and any federal or state employment.   At 18, driving restrictions are lifted, so you can now drive at night and carry passengers. Remember - DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE.    ...