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Divorce later in life brings some unique challenges

Perhaps you are contemplating ending your marriage after 20 or even 30 years. You and your spouse have entered the second half of your lives and now face some unique challenges.

Establishing two households and dividing an accumulation of assets may seem more daunting now than if you were still young with plenty of earning years in front of you.

Income concerns

Having spent decades as a married couple with no serious financial worries, divorce brings concerns about income streams. One or both of you may be nearing retirement and may need to put that happy day off a while longer. If you are already retired, you may have to consider rejoining the workforce.

Living separately

Setting up separate households will incur costs that you may not have anticipated. As a single person, you will have to do some planning for living expenses. You will have to make either mortgage or rent payments, pay for insurance and a healthcare plan. You will have to factor in personal and living expenses, vehicle expenses and anything else you require to maintain your lifestyle.

Dividing assets

Texas is a community property state, which means that any property gained during the course of the marriage belongs to both partners equally. Asset division will follow suit. However, in the property distribution phase of your divorce, you may keep any separate property by proving it is yours. For example, a vintage car you have owned since before you walked down the aisle. A value will be placed on all your assets: real property, bank and brokerage accounts, retirement accounts and Social Security benefits. Taxes will apply to many of the assets. For instance, a tax will apply to any withdrawal you make from a 401(k). In dividing certain types of accounts, there must also be an even distribution of unrealized gains and losses.

Teamwork

While married, you and your spouse probably worked together in planning for the future and your retirement years. Because divorce is bringing a change to those plans, you can make the process less stressful and contentious by continuing to work as a team for a while longer. With compassionate legal guidance, you can confront the challenges before you and feel confident about entering the next stage of your life.

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