Why Is A Gray Divorce Different?

The fastest growing area of a family law practice is the gray divorce. This category refers to those who are older than 50 when they decide to go their separate ways. The issues that arise in these types of divorces are different than the standard divorce involving younger couples who are just beginning to accumulate assets and who have minor children.

Issues Unique to Gray Divorces

Grey divorces are different for some of the following reasons:

  • The couple has generally accumulated more assets than younger couples, so property division is a main focus of the divorce process.
  • The couple may even have their mortgage paid off.
  • There are no minor children, so no custody or child support issues to deal with.
  • Retirement plans get disrupted. A retirement plan meant for the couple to use together will now be divided. It will seem to each one as though one half of their retirement money has been wiped out.
  • Often, one spouse has been out of the workforce for as many as 30 years, triggering the need for spousal support.

Unfortunately, many gray divorces are initiated because spouse was unfaithful. The children are out of the home and one partner decides this is a good time to get involved with someone else and the infidelity results in a divorce.

Spousal Maintenance and Alimony in a Gray Divorce

Texas court are not fond of spousal support, but in the case where one party has not been employed for many years, that party may be entitled to some amount of support while they learn new skills and prepare themselves to get a job. The spouse that has been out of the workforce may also receive a greater share of the assets to help give them a jump-start to learning new skills and finding employment.

Spousal maintenance is not ordered for a lifetime. Courts generally will not order support for more than a few years. In rare circumstances, the court may order spousal maintenance for up to 10 years. Spousal support is intended to just be a cushion to help the non-earning spouse get on their feet.

Meanwhile, the paying spouse may get resentful if he or she needs to dip into their part of the retirement to pay spousal support.

Alternatively, a couple may agree on contractual alimony. Alimony is purely optional and voluntarily on behalf of you and your spouse. There are no minimum requirements to agree to alimony.  However, if problems arise down the road, the courts will deem this a contractual dispute. 

For more information on gray divorce, or any aspect of the divorce process, contact us at Martinez Legal, P.C. to schedule a consultation.