Divorce Rate For People Over 55 Doubles: Many Women Are At Financial Risk

A recent 20 year trend shows that the divorce rate for people between the ages of 55 and 64 has doubled. This new reality has has placed many women who have worked exclusively inside the home during the marriage in serious financial jeopardy. 

In 2012 the National Center for Family and Marriage Research published a study showing that between 1990 and 2012 the divorce rate doubled for people between the ages of 55 and 64. Our experience in assisting women in their 50’s and above through the separation and divorce process makes evident the fact that they face many unique challenges in dealing with the financial issues of their a divorce.

Separation and divorce are major life changing events for everyone. Two people must create new, distinct and separate, lives and identities from the ashes of their former marriage. Here are 3 of the larger issues we have found that many women between the ages of 55 and 65 who are involved in a divorce must address:

  1. Education and Work History: A person with a higher education degree will earn between $500 and $1,200 per week more than a person who has a high school degree. A woman who has not had conventional employment and received taxable income in 20 or more years is going to have a lot of catching up to do. She may realistically only have 10-15 years to  work and prepare for her later years. The productivity of those  10-15 years must be maximized as much as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to address any educational needs prior to making the divorce decision, if possible, or otherwise immediately thereafter.
  2. Knowledge of finances and budgeting: While many married women routinely handle all of the household finances (I owe my life to my wife for taking on this thankless task!) a significant number of women have been excluded from of all aspects of family finances. Not only will the process of budgeting and paying bills be completely new, many women must learn to manage and invest assets for the first time. It is critical to manage what has been gotten by way of the divorce resolution in the most efficient and productive way. An experienced family law attorney will refer their client to the appropriate resource for assistance with this issue.
  3. Health: At all ages our happiness and success are often linked to our health. The benefits of strong mental and physical health are numerous, especially for a person who is starting out on their own for the first time in their mid 50’s. Working, saving money, creating and realizing a new life, will all benefit from a strong body and mind. For those  of you who are not “gym” people, walking is a wonderful exercise: you won’t believe how much more you will see when walking!

Positively addressing these three issues can help provide a solid foundation upon which a new life can be built. People who divorce in their 50’s and 60’s also need to keep their litigation costs down, reduce their emotional stress and spend their time and resources preparing for their latter years, now radically different than what was planned many years earlier. Use of non adversarial dispute resolution processes such as Collaborative Law and Mediation are most often much better ways to reach a resolution of the issues involved in dissolving a marriage.

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