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Older Adults May Struggle With Finances After Divorce

While parents who are divorcing in McKinney, TX, often focus on custody arrangements, spouses who are over the age of 50 when filing for divorce typically have other concerns, and many of them involve money.

The Chicago Tribune reports that, according to research performed at Bowling Green State University, the past two decades have seen an increase in gray divorces by approximately 50 percent. Many older adults who end their long-term marriages do not have the resources they need. While only 4 percent of married couples over the age of 62 are living on incomes at or below the federal poverty line, poverty affects 14 percent of men and 30 percent of women who are divorced and single.

Social security benefits

Particularly for spouses who have not worked or who have had a less lucrative career, receiving social security benefits on their ex-spouse’s record can be helpful to make ends meet after the separation.

The Social Security Administration guidelines state that it is possible for people to draw the benefits from their ex-spouse’s record that they would have while they were still married. They must be at least 62-years-old and meet the following criteria:

  • Ex-spouse entitled to retirement or disability benefits through SSA
  • Married for 10 or more years
  • Currently unmarried

Unfortunately, when receiving benefits from an ex-spouse’s record, a person cannot receive them based on his or her own work.


When spouses are left without the resources to take care of their own needs after divorce, the Texas Family Code states that they may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance under certain conditions. Maintenance may be available to a person who is unable to earn an adequate income because of a personal physical or mental disability, or because of the physical or mental disability of a child in his or her care. A person who does not have the ability to earn an adequate income and has been married to the ex-spouse for at least 10 years may also be eligible to receive spousal maintenance.

U.S. News reports that older adults may not be able to pursue an education or training that allows them to compete in the job market. This has the potential to make alimony a long-term arrangement, while those who divorce at a younger age might expect a maintenance agreement to be temporary. Older adults may also be less likely to remarry or move in with a new partner, which is another condition that the Texas Family Code states will bring maintenance payments to an end.

Taking financial factors into consideration may cause a couple a significant amount of anxiety over how their divorce will affect their individual quality of life. However, a family law attorney in Texas may be able to facilitate a collaborative process that allows each spouse to achieve a reasonable standard of living.