Financial Issues with a Gray Divorce

As we age, the situations we deal with tend to get more and more serious. Take divorce for example. Ending a marriage later in life presents a whole different set of divorce issues when compared to a marriage ending only after a few years and the spouses are relatively young. With gray divorces becoming more and more popular amongst people in Texas and nationwide, individuals nearing or in their retirement years have multiple divorce issues to address.

According to current statistics, the divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has doubled since the 1990s. Divorcing later in life can be tremendously different than divorcing in your 20s and 30s. For most, it means not dealing with issues with child custody and support. However, a gray divorce means addressing some difficult financial issues, some of which impact a person’s retirement plans.

Because the majority of women leave major investing and financial planning to their spouse, many married women, no matter their age, are not aware of their finances, what they are entitled to and how exactly the divorce process will impact them during their later years of life. When surveyed, women that divorced later in life regretted not taking more of a financial role during the marriage.

Despite the strides made for women, it is more likely than not that a women will not take on a major role when it comes to financial planning. Therefore, they do not know what their retirement, investment, and sometimes bank accounts look like. This can cause a spouse to feel at a huge disadvantage during the divorce process because they feel left in the dark. Financial surprises not only disrupt the divorce process in general but also tend to create financial problems for the unsuspecting spouse.

It should be noted that not all of these surprises have been negative. In some cases, divorced women were delivered retirement saving plans that they did not know existed. Being surprised by finances, whether good or bad, is not a great predicament to be in. Thus, it is important to understand how the divorce will impact you, no matter your age. Getting divorced later in life can be emotional and difficult, making it vital to understand the process and how best to protect your rights along the way.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Rise of ‘gray’ divorce is forcing a financial reckoning for 50-plus women,” Suzanne Woolley, April 20, 2018

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