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How older Texas couples can protect their assets in divorce

According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 doubled between 1990 and 2014. Furthermore, the divorce rate tripled during that same time period for those over the age of 65. One concern that older people getting divorced may have is how to divide their retirement accounts. In fact, a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found it was the second-most fought over issue among older divorcing couples.

As a general rule, retirement accounts are seen as marital property regardless of who owns it. The basis for that rule is that the money was intended to be used to support both individuals as one household. Now, that money will need to be divided to allow both individuals access to it when they need it. After a divorce, an individual may want to change the beneficiary designation on that account and any other that may have such a designation.

Before an account is divided, the tax implications of such a split should be considered. Individuals are encouraged to value a retirement account at its after-tax value to ensure that both sides get to keep as much of the money as possible after the government takes its share. This may mean that one person may get a smaller share of a retirement account to minimize the tax hit.

Whether an individual is going through a complex divorce or a relatively straightforward one, it is worthwhile to have legal counsel. An attorney may be able to review any prenuptial agreement a couple may have or otherwise use state law to help a person get a maximum share of marital property.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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