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Property ownership key factor in gray divorce

The social stigma surrounding divorce that might have kept couples in Texas together in the past has faded, and the divorce rate has risen among people over age 50. Known as gray divorce, marital splits among those over 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010. In 1990, only five in every 1,000 marriages of older people ended in divorce, but, in 2010, the rate for that demographic had jumped to 10 out 1,000. The results of a longitudinal study that followed over 5,000 couples published in 2016 revealed that the amount of marital assets influenced the likelihood of divorce.

Couples with assets totaling over $250,000 had a 38 percent lower incidence of divorce than older couples whose assets totaled $50,000 or less. The authors of the study concluded that the element of financial security protected older couples from divorce. An earlier study in 2012 also indicated the influence of relative wealth.

The 2012 study also supported the notion that first marriages endure more often than subsequent marriages. Although recent years have witnessed a rise in divorces among people who have been married 40 or more years, an analysis of the data revealed that the chance of gray divorce tripled among remarried couples who had been married for that amount of time compared to people in their first marriages.

The divorce legal issues for older couples may differ slightly than those faced by younger people. For example, child custody and visitation will likely not be in play, but the division of retirement accounts can become very important. A family law attorney can often assist a divorcing client in negotiating an agreement that covers the applicable matters.

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