Getting divorced is always an adjustment, but this can be especially true for older people going through a “gray divorce.” After being married for 30 or 40 years (or longer), not living with your ex anymore usually means a huge change in lifestyle.
Besides the emotional and practical differences, there is the financial impact, especially for women. According to MarketWatch, women who get divorced later in life experience an average decline in their standard of living of 45 percent. For men, the average drop is a significant but much smaller 21 percent.
Even if both spouses worked during the marriage, women must still contend with the wage gap, which tends to be even worse for older female workers. Then there are the marriages where the husband was the primary (or sole) income earner and the wife focused on raising the children and maintaining the home. A woman who gave up her chance at a career decades ago will struggle to support herself financially now that her marriage is ending.
Fair property division to help with the transition
This is why a fair and reasonable property division is vitally important. Texas follows the community property rule, which means that most assets acquired during the marriage are considered “community property” jointly owned by each spouse. Community property must be split 50-50. Assets brought into the marriage are known as “separate property” and are kept by the owner after the marriage ends.
Determining what is community property and what is separate property is always an essential part of divorce, but especially so in a gray divorce. During a long marriage, a couple tends to amass substantial property like the family home, retirement accounts and other investments, and an ownership stake in a business. Making sure that you know exactly what each piece of community property is and what it is worth is the best way of ensuring your rights are respected.