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The financial impact of divorce on older adults

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2019 | Divorce

While people in Illinois who are over 50 might be more likely to get divorced than younger people or previous generations in their age group, the financial and emotional toll can be high. According to one study conducted by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, wealth for people who get a divorce after age 50 drops about 50%. Older divorced people in one study also reported a higher rate of depression than those whose spouses had died.

For women, the financial effects can be particularly acute. One study found that the standard of living for women went down 45% when they divorced after age 50 while for men it decreased 21%. Furthermore, people did not tend to regain their previous financial status over the ensuing years. For many older people, there is simply not enough time to make up for the financial impact of divorce.

A 2017 study found a 27% poverty rate among women age 63 and older who had been through a divorce after 50. This was a higher rate than widows or other groups at that age. It was nine times higher than that of married couples. Some research also shows that divorce can lead to people underperforming at work although large companies seem to be better able to absorb this.

While these figures point to the importance for people to make sure they protect themselves financially during a divorce, these outcomes are not inevitable. Couples may work together to create a plan for division of property and spousal support that helps them both remain financially stable after divorce. Spouses who have not been involved in the family finances may want to work with an attorney to review financial paperwork and decide what they should ask for as part of the property division process.

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