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Age is an important issue to consider in divorce

The fact that not all married couples live happily ever after is sad but true. People in Texas who are considering divorce will likely find that there is no shortage of advice. However, no two marriages or divorces are the same, and the issues needing consideration depend on the unique dynamics of the couple. Many of these considerations vary according to the age of those getting divorced.

For example, alimony can play a significant role in negotiations between spouses. When one spouse has forfeited a career to care for children and the home in general, he or she may need support to prepare for re-entry into the job market. If that spouse is still reasonably young, temporary spousal support may be appropriate to allow that person to become self-sufficient. However, if that person is near retirement age -- or already retired -- he or she will likely not be expected to acquire new skills and go back to work. In that case, the court may award permanent spousal support.

Pensions, retirement benefits and Social Security will likely need more attention in divorces of older couples. Those individuals who are closer to retirement will not have enough time to build retirement funds. The length of the marriage also determines one spouse's claim to a share of the Social Security benefits of the other spouse and sharing in those benefits may result in reduced alimony payments. Child custody is not typically a factor to be addressed in divorces of older couples, except when there is a considerable age difference between the two spouses. A much older spouse who is retired or close to retirement may not be able to support a younger spouse with minor children.

So, rather than taking the readily available advice from friends and family, it may be more appropriate to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Texas is a community property state, and agreeing on property division after many years of accumulating assets as a married couple may be tough. With the support and guidance of a seasoned lawyer, a divorcing spouse may be ready to step into a new single life with financial stability regardless of his or her age.

Source: FindLaw, "How Does Age Factor Into Divorce?", George Khoury, Nov. 17, 2016

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