Divorce for people 50 and older (a so-called “gray” divorce) has become increasingly common in recent years. In Florida, where a significant portion of the population is older, this is a growing concern. While there are fundamentals in any divorce including property division and alimony, older people who might be on a fixed income and have limited employment opportunities could be confronted with different challenges than younger people might. Knowing what others have faced can help with full preparedness and making contingencies. This is especially vital for women amid the recently released information that they are dealing with a harder financial landscape than males after a gray divorce.
Divorce among older people is leaving women in financially troubled waters
In gray divorce, there are many reasons cited for its stark rise over the past 30-plus years. One is that women are getting married later in life meaning that if they divorce, it will automatically happen even later. Still, in the two decades from 1990 to 2010, the number of gray divorces was twice what it was prior to that. This happened while younger people stayed married at a far greater rate. Currently, one in every three divorces is a gray divorce. Women often decide to end the marriage. With that, they are putting their finances at risk.
The litany of factors that might be ignored during a gray divorce include combining incomes, living expenses and retirement savings. Some women who might have been stay-at-home spouses and parents were reliant on the husband’s medical coverage. Losing that can be costly financially and emotionally. The standard of living women enjoyed during the marriage declined by nearly half after the divorce. For men, that was slightly more than 20% – a large disparity. The female post-gray divorce struggle can be mitigated by remarrying, but only 22% found another partner. For men, that was 37%. Even safety nets like Social Security might not be enough.
Gray divorce is a specific type of case that requires targeted assistance
Despite attempts to bridge the pay gap and ensure that women are on a level playing field with men, there is still a long way to go to have full equality. That is not only impacting people in the workplace, but is causing challenges as they divorce and go out on their own after a certain age. When a woman is considering divorce, it is imperative to be fully prepared for the future. That might include ensuring that there is an accurate accounting of the property from the marriage, knowing what can be divided including retirement accounts, how much alimony will be needed and more. Before making mistakes that can cause lifelong challenges, having guidance is critical to understanding the process and in moving forward effectively.