The divorce rate for people throughout the country over the age of 50 is growing, and it may lead to financial uncertainty for women in particular. In 2012, a paper released by the Social Security Administration found that women who remained single throughout their lives were better off financially than divorced women. Among women over 80 who were divorced, 22 percent lived in poverty. Only 17 percent of never-married women lived in poverty while 15 percent of widowed women did.
The divorce rate for people over the age of 50 in 2010 was twice as high as in 1990. A study by Bowling Green’s National Center for Family & Marriage Research found that women who divorced later in life were more likely to be working full time between the ages of 50 and 74.
Women are still more likely than men to have left the workforce in order to take care of children. This may affect their earning power even if they do return to work outside the home. The researchers also found that women who divorced after marriages that appeared relatively secure were more poorly prepared for divorce than those who were in bad unions.
People who are considering divorce might want to begin by discussing their financial situation and property division with an attorney. It may be helpful to bring financial documents such as tax returns, investment paperwork and bank statements to the attorney. Even if they have not directly contributed to a retirement account, they may be able to claim a portion of it at the time of divorce, and this can be crucial in establishing financial security. People who are tempted to take the home in lieu of their share of retirement should be sure that they can afford payments and maintenance.