While a divorce at an older age may affect both parties negatively, it is particularly hard on women. A gray divorce can take a financial toll not only on your monthly income or expenses but also on longer-term financial goals.
The reason that gray divorces are harder on women, for the most part, is because it’s still normal for women to have been homemakers and to stay out of the workforce. Even those who do work are less likely to have an income equal to their male spouses, which means that they are likely to have less saved or put away into retirement. On top of all this, women are more likely to live longer than their male counterparts, which means that they need more money to sustain themselves.
Women need to be cautious when dividing assets
Women need to be cautious when they’re dividing their assets because of the potential long-term ramifications. If you are going into a divorce and are too emotional or making decisions based on guilt, you could find that the financial damage you do is significant.
How should you approach a gray divorce?
When you’re going through a divorce at 50 or older, your goals should be different. You should be focused on how you will support yourself in retirement and how you’re going to keep the greatest portion of assets possible. If you have not worked or rely heavily on your spouse’s income, negotiating a longer-term spousal support award or lump sum payout may be to your benefit.
To make that happen, it’s important for you to get all the records you can. Bring your tax documents, bank account records and any documentation of major assets with you when you meet with your attorney. You may want to work with a forensic accountant, too, so you can identify any hidden or missing assets that need to be included in your divorce’s settlement agreement.
At this point, working with a financial advisor is a good idea, so consider your attorney as just one member of your divorce team. With accountants, advisors, your attorney and others involved, you’ll have the best chance of protecting your finances now and in the future.