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Couples over 50 years old are the largest demographic currently getting divorced, and it continues to increase. The so-called “grey divorce” phenomena can result from changing priorities, a second marriage that did not work out, the couple opting to split after the children grew up, or other circumstances unique to their relationship.

One issue that is not unique is that older couple who divorce face major financial setbacks. Moreover, according to Bloomberg, wives in the traditional heterosexual family unit are disproportionately impacted.

Why is this happening?

Many divorces involve a fair and equitable settlement between the spouses, but experts cite such issues as:

  • Job prospects: Women who have been out of the job market for decades or underemployed with flexible part-time work have difficulty finding higher-paying jobs that can help rebuild a nest egg.
  • Standard of living: Dividing assets later in life reduces the standard of living for women by about 45%, which is more than twice the rate of men (21%).
  • Higher rate of poverty: Twenty-seven percent of divorced women 63-years-old and up live below the poverty line. Eleven percent of divorced men the same age, on the other hand, live below the poverty line.
  • Smaller pool of spouses: Women can increase their standard of living by remarrying, but there are fewer men because men tend to marry younger women and die at an earlier average age.
  • Fewer benefits: Social Security and other benefits are designed to keep seniors out of poverty, but spouses need to be married ten years to receive a portion of the benefits.
  • Cost of insurance: A wife loses coverage through a husband’s employment once the divorce is final.

Help to prepare for the future

If money is an issue, it may not make sense to litigate a divorce in court. Nevertheless, a family law attorney can still be a tremendous asset in guiding older clients through divorce. Not only will they help protect a client’s rights, but these legal professionals can also address unique circumstances of a divorce and provide smart and creative solutions for dividing assets.