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Divorced women over 50 are more likely to fall into poverty

A woman over 50 who is considering a divorce in California may want to think about the effect the separation could have on retirement. A study produced by two economists found a relationship between the age that a woman divorces and the chances that she will still be working full time later in life. A survey of nearly 56,000 women showed that those who ended their marriages in their 50s ended up working jobs into their 70s 10 percent more often than those who divorced prior to age 30.

According to the study, poverty is often caused by the common choice of women with children to keep a family home instead of retirement assets. Financial planners generally consider holding on to a home in a divorce to be a mistake even if the woman can afford to maintain the real estate. The loss of retirement savings in a divorce settlement often leaves an older woman with only the option of working past retirement age.

Despite the financial consequences, divorce among older people has become more prevalent. Information collected by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University documented the doubling of divorce rates among people over 50 between 1990 and 2010.

For divorces involving significant assets, couples sometimes reach out to financial planners and attorneys for advice. A person could speak with an attorney and gain information about rights to real estate, business assets and retirement accounts. To further help the client, an attorney could conduct settlement negotiations or assert the person's wishes in court.

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