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Wise | Lieberman Divorce & Family Law Attorneys Wise | Lieberman Divorce & Family Law Attorneys
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Women Pay a Price in Gray Divorce


There are demonstrably difficult financial outcomes for women of gray divorce.  The rate of gray divorce—divorce for individuals in their 50’s and older—has more than doubled in recent decades, and an entire generation of women are finding out that the aftermath of divorce can be financially problematic. Understanding these challenges is critical for anyone seeking a divorce later in life.

Issues for Older Women 

There are a number of concerns that older women face as the prospect of divorce looms:

  1. Resources are scarce for women: Women experience a 45 percent drop in their standard of living after a gray divorce, more than double the decline for men. Perhaps that’s why twice as many women who divorced after age 50 live in poverty, compared to women who divorced prior to age 50.
  2. Many have never worked outside the home: An entire generation of women spent their lives as homemakers whose husbands were the sole breadwinners.
  3. Women’s earnings deficit is real: Even women who did build careers battled a huge gender wage gap resulting in Social Security income earnings at significantly lower levels.
  4. Drawing on a husband’s Social Security is insufficient: Women may make a claim on their husband’s Social Security (if married for at least 11 years), but they are generally entitled to just half of that SS income, not the full amount that the husband will receive.
  5. Pooling assets with a new spouse is rare: Women will likely never share expenses with a new partner following divorce, since only about one in five women ever hook up with a new partner.

Take Steps Now to Protect Yourself 

What can you do to minimize financial struggles in a gray divorce? There are a number of steps you can take:

  1. Be actively engaged in household budgeting, understanding where the money is going and sharing in all decisions related to finances.
  2. Ensure you have your own money that cannot be accessed by your spouse.
  3. Create your own retirement account—whether a spousal IRA housewives with no independent income, or something else offered through your employer if you work outside the home.
  4. Encourage your spouse to defer collecting Social Security until age 70 if you will be making a claim on his SS so your withdrawal will be greater.
  5. Consider a pre-or postnuptial agreement to enshrine financial protections for you if things go south down the road.

Following the Divorce 

Divorce is going to require some rearranging of finances for anyone in divorce.  Learn to live within limits, by setting budget goals based on your net income. In addition, make a serious effort to save a chunk of alimony payments, since they generally run out in time.

The Legal Help You Deserve 

The experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys at WiseLieberman have your best interests in mind.  If you are about to go through a gray divorce, we will fight for the best possible outcomes for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our Boca Raton office today.


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