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Divorcing Later in Life – the Impact on Women

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A recent study explored the impact to women of divorce later in life. Women that divorce after age 50 and above are 10% more likely to be working full time from age 50 to 74 than women that are divorced at age 30. Divorcing after the age of 50 frequently causes women to go back to work or delay retirement.

Divorce rates remained low in the 1950s and early 1960s. Rates increased sharply in the mid-1960s, peaking in the 1980s. Studies point to a shift in the laws from mutual divorce to unilateral divorce as a factor in this increase. Divorce rates leveled off in approximately 2005. However, among women age 50 or older, divorce rates continue to increase.

As a result, more older women are in the workplace. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of poor, older women. Divorcing at any age can have significant financial implications, but divorcing when you are over age 50 can make financial challenges even more difficult.

Women this age frequently have not worked outside of the home. They often stayed at home, raising children and maintaining the household.  This can make it difficult for them to find employment that pays well. As a result, studies show that the poverty rate among divorced women over 50 years old is 27%. The poverty rate for divorced men over 50 years old is only 11.4%.

Adding to the obstacles of retirement, women in divorce often want to keep the family home. This results in women trading away other assets such as retirement benefits, further delaying retirement and forcing them to work longer to maintain their home.

Interestingly, women who view themselves as in marriages with low risk for divorce are more likely to have to enter the workforce full time if they actually do get divorced. These women are also less likely to have ever collected Social Security. Studies show that women who believe they are in high risk divorce situations are more likely to have invested in education. Among college educated women, the probability of full time employment following divorce is increased regardless of the risk of divorce.

Adding to this, as we age, our medical expenses increase. This adds to the burden on women that are divorced later in life. Medical expenses in many cases force women to delay retirement and work later in life. Paying for appointments, prescriptions, procedures and more can add up quickly.

Make an Appointment to Meet With One of Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys

If you are divorcing later in life, it is critical that you have a divorce attorney who is well versed in family law and the finer points of couples divorcing at an older age. It is essential that you have an advocate looking out for your rights. Contact the office of Fort Lauderdale attorney Sandra Bonfiglio to discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular case.  Sandra Bonfiglio has more than 15 years of experience handling family law cases.

Resource:

nber.org/chapters/c13806.pdf

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