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Women over 50 seeking divorce could face a financial conundrum

There is no doubt that one’s financial situation plays a large role in their divorce. After all, spouses must divide the property they shared during the marriage between them, including anything from their income to their savings accounts.

Some experts believe that finances are one of the reasons behind the increasing rate of divorce for couples over 50. Yet, it also seems that they are a major concern for many women after a divorce.

Changes in women’s financial situations are one reason for elder divorce

Of course, everyone has a different reason for pursuing a divorce, no matter their age. But several studies report that one of the trends behind elder divorce is the fact that women have more financial independence nowadays than they had in the past. After all:

  • The number of women in the workforce has increased since the 1960s; and
  • Despite the wage gap, many women make nearly as much as – if not more than – their husbands.

Therefore, many women no longer depend on their husbands for financial security, as they are financially secure themselves. Their financial situations often do not prevent them from leaving an unhappy marriage.

However, elder divorce can also be detrimental to women’s finances

The increase in financial independence for women may very well be one of the reasons behind the rise in elder divorce. And yet, individuals should not overlook the fact that divorce can often have a significant impact on one’s finances – especially if they are close to retirement.

In a divorce, spouses must divide their marital assets according to Illinois law. And the longer a couple is married, the more complex it can be to divide assets such as:

  • Retirement assets;
  • Real property; and
  • Other savings and investments.

It is important to note that several studies have reached conflicting reports, but many find that women over 50 can face particular financial hardships after a divorce. For example, Barron’s reports that women often see their standard of living reduced by 45%, whereas a man’s standard of living only decreases by 21% after an elder divorce. The reasons behind this trend are unclear, but it is a reality for many women.

What does this mean for women pursuing a divorce?

Although women over 50 seeking a divorce should be aware of this risk, they should not let this information alarm them.

Individuals should always approach a divorce with care, especially an elder divorce. In these cases, it might help if individuals consult an experienced divorce attorney to help them prepare their finances and plan for a divorce, so they can preserve their financial future in the next chapter of their life.