Retirement accounts up for grabs in long-time marriage divorces

On behalf of Loughmiller Higgins, Attorneys at Law posted in Divorce on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

For many who have been married for a long time in Texas, a divorce can be very challenging. This is often due to the fact that a couple that has been married for a long time has often acquired significant assets together. In addition, in many divorce cases for older adults, a retirement settlement is of particular concern.

Authorities report that the number of couples who are over the age of 50 and filing for divorce has doubled in recent years. Regardless of the reason, just as with a divorce at any age, those older couples working through the process have many issues to consider.

For some, the alternative dissolution procedures such as mediation or collaborative divorce may be beneficial. In these cases, the couple meets with an independent third party, often with their representatives, to work out agreements as to the division of property, assets and retirement accounts. In fact, a couple going through a divorce can discuss all aspects of a proposed dissolution in the negotiation. However, if they are unable to agree on an issue, a court can be asked to intervene.

For older spouses in Texas, the amount of money in a retirement account can be very important. As the couple works to negotiate a settlement, the needs of each individual spouse may be considered. Retirement accounts are often considered marital property and not left off the table for property division, even if they only have one person’s name on them.

In any divorce there are many issues to be decided. Among younger couples, child support and custody may be the most contentious issue. For couples who have been married longer or whose children are no longer minors, it may be the retirement accounts, the family home and other assets that cause a couple to disagree. Regardless of what issues they face, as they work through the divorce, couples must review all aspects of their financial lives and determine how to divide the marriage assets.

Source: AARP, “Protecting Your Money In a Divorce,” Sid Kirchheimer, May 16, 2012

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