Divorce complications that may arise after a long marriage

Older people in Texas who are considering divorce may struggle with the emotional turmoil of ending a decades-long marriage as well as the practical difficulties of separating their life from that of their former spouse's. Research says divorce is on the rise among older adults, and this is reflected as well in the divorces of prominent couples such as Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee, who were married for 24 years, and Al and Tipper Gore who were married for 40.

Although this process may be difficult, it can also be a positive time. Divorce has lost much of its social stigma, and increasingly, women over 60 are filing for divorce because they see the opportunity to start fresh. However, there may still be financial difficulties. A growing trend is older single adults sharing housing. When a couple divorces, it may be financially impractical or impossible for either of them to keep the family home.

Understanding the new financial situation and making a budget may be critical. Some people may find that they need to go back to work or enter the workforce for the first time. Others may be able to draw Social Security benefits based on the income of their former spouse.

Couples who have retirement accounts may want to find out how they can divide one without incurring tax or other penalties and how the value of the account will be calculated. Some people may be eligible for spousal support. If a divorce case goes to litigation, a judge will make decisions about property division, child custody and other issues. However, a couple might be able to work with their attorneys and reach a more flexible solution that suits them better.

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