While some divorces in North Carolina present very few surprises, this isn’t always the case. According to an online marketplace survey, nearly half of all divorced women surveyed reported experiencing financial surprises. The study involved nearly 2,000 adult women who were either about to start the divorce process, going through it or already divorced. More than 20 percent of the participants were women 55 or older although Gen X and millennial women also participated.
As far as what constitutes an “unpleasant surprise” during a divorce, some women may not be fully aware of the marital debt, such as expenses related to the primary home mortgage and 401(k) loans. Divorcing women sometimes also fail to have a plan in place for returning to the workforce while others assume that alimony and child support payments will be higher or last longer. Additional financial surprises may involve ownership of the marital home, costs associated with health insurance coverage and failure to anticipate costs associated with getting a divorce.
Among all women surveyed, it was the younger women who reported more instances of facing unexpected financial issues. Failure to take an active role in financial matters can be a factor that contributes to unexpected issues post-marriage. Interestingly, it was younger women surveyed who were more likely to say they left financial responsibilities or decisions to their former spouse than older women surveyed. Conversely, older women were more likely to be focused on building their investment portfolio post-divorce.
Results from this type of research emphasize the need to be as prepared and aware as possible financially at the end of a marriage and during the period afterward. A family law attorney may also be able to point out potential assets that women are aware of, such as the ability to sell an engagement ring or other assets to handle financial obligations or supplement retirement savings.