By Robert L. Mues   |   December 10th, 2016

divorce womenThe “golden years” may not be so “golden” for those couples who choose to part ways later in life.  According to researchers, even though divorce rates in general seem to be stabilizing, the divorce rate among the “baby boomer” generation continues to increase.

This trend is proving to have a disproportionately negative effect on women over 50.  Recent studies show that 1 in 5 women over 65 are still working.  This number is 2 times higher than it was in the 1980s.

Divorce Later In Life Proving Difficult Financially For Women Over 50

Compared to couples who split when they are young, divorcing later in life is proving to have severe, financial impacts on the older population, particularly women. In a recent study, Claudia Olivetti of Boston College and Dana Rotz of Mathematica Policy Research surveyed 56,000 women and found that in comparison to those who divorce at age 30, women age 50 and above are 10% more likely to be working full-time between the ages of 50-74. It appears that divorcing later in life is pushing these women back to work and is forcing them to delay retirement.

Besides the fact that divorcing later is causing the number of older women in the work place to increase, it has also caused a rise in the number of poor, older women as well. While divorcing at any age has financial implications to consider, divorcing when you’re over 50 can make these challenges even more difficult.

For example, often in divorce, women tend to want to keep the family home. Because of this, they end up trading other assets, namely pension/retirement benefits, to do so.  As a result, this trade-off puts these women way behind in retirement savings and forces them to work longer to afford the cost of maintaining the home.

Women Working Longer To Overcome Financial Struggle After Divorce

Many times, these women worked inside the home for the duration of the marriage, raising children and taking care of the household while their husbands worked.  So, when they divorce at age 50+ it is sometimes difficult for them to earn a decent wage and obtain good benefits, as they have little by way of a resume. Because of this and other factors, studies show that the poverty rate for divorced women over 50 is 27%, while the rate for men is only 11.4%.

On top of the difficulty in finding a job after divorce, the increase in medical issues and accompanying expenses adds to the financial struggle of someone older and newly-single.  The harsh reality of the situation is: the older one gets, the more medical problems they are likely going to have.  Therefore, the cost of paying for appointments, medications, procedures, etc. can often be a huge blow to these women’s pocketbooks – which forces them to work longer and further into “retirement age” than they had planned.

Divorce Taking It’s Toll On Older Women

Whether it’s because people are living longer and therefore are less likely to stay in an unhappy marriage, or perhaps because the stigma of “divorce” has softened over the years, the rate of divorce for people over 50 is increasing and particularly taking its toll on older women.

It is important to hire an experienced divorce lawyer aware of these harsh realities! If you or someone you know is in this situation, consult with one of our family law attorneys today so that we can help to ensure your golden years stay golden!

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

Divorce Rate Up for Older Women: The Financial Impact Divorcing Later in Life
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