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Study: why women age 50 and older suffer the hardest financial hit post divorce

At any age, going through a divorce can result in an individual suffering a major financial blow. With time, however, most divorcees are able to bounce back and work to rebuild a healthy savings to ensure for their future financial security. However the results of the recent "Marital Biology, Social Security and Poverty" study indicates that a strong post-divorce financial rebound is often much more difficult to achieve for individuals who are age 50 and older, and particularly for divorced women age 50 and older.

According to the study’s authors, during 2010 alone, an estimated 650,000 people age 50 and older divorced in the U.S and these so-called gray divorcees earned an average household income of $57,000 per year while their married counterparts enjoyed an average household income of $105,000.

For older divorcees who never worked, returned to work later in life or work only part-time; concerns related to finances often dominate their lives post-divorce. According to the study's researchers, 27 percent of divorced women age 50 and older identified as being poor while just 11 percent of divorced men in this same age group are poor. Researchers believe these sobering statistics are related to the fact that gray divorcees don't have as many working years left to make up divorce-related financial losses. Additionally, in cases where an individual was married less than 10 years, he or she cannot receive payments via an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits.

For individuals age 50 and older who plan to divorce, it's crucial to hire a divorce attorney who understands the varied and complex financial circumstances that many gray divorcees face. An attorney should work to secure a divorce settlement that provides for one's day-to-day, retirement and long-term care needs and also provide advice on how to take advantage of and maximize an ex's Social Security benefits.

Source: Investment News, "Gray divorce boosts poverty level for women," Mary Beth Franklin, Jan. 12, 2016

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