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More older couples divorcing in Texas

When couples have been married for several decades, staying together for the long haul can seem like a given. However, some family therapy professionals in Texas are witnessing an increase in the number of long-term marriages ending in divorce.

While all aspects of a divorce can be tough on those involved, property division can prove particularly challenging after a couple has built an entire life together.

According to one marriage therapist in East Texas, older couples may have experienced their marriage weakening due to time spent apart or shifting priorities as their children were growing up.

With both men and women enjoying longer life spans than their parents' generations did, many may be rethinking the idea of spending their golden years with the same person.

Passion may have fizzled, of course, but values and preferences can also change over time. Today's aging population is more likely to pursue their own happiness rather than adhere strictly to traditions of the past.

While the general divorce rate for American couples has been relatively steady over the past two decades, the rate for those age 50 and older has risen dramatically, doubling between 1990 and 2010.

What this means for divorcing Texans is further understanding of the property division process. Unlike younger couples, older spouses hail from times when it was assumed men and women would share all aspects of their lives upon marrying. From joint accounts to homes to vehicles, there are countless items to assess in a "gray divorce."

While Texas is a community property state, this does not mean that property division is black-and-white during a divorce. What it does mean is that all property that a couple acquires during their union is considered community property.

While there are indeed exceptions to this assumption, judges still treat property acquired jointly as in need of a review during a divorce. This process can take a bit of time and patience if a couple has amassed years and years' worth of shared properties.

Source: KTRE, "'Gray divorces' increasing in east Texas." Michelle Reed, Nov. 16, 2012.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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