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Divorce after 50 can be difficult for women

While the overall divorce rate in Massachusetts and across the United States has declined and stabilized since the 1980s, divorce among individuals over the age of 50 is on the rise. In fact, statistics show that divorce rates among older couples doubled between 1990 and 2010. Experts say the phenomenon, known as "gray divorce," impacts the financial security of women more than men, and women divorcees should take protective measures to ensure that they enjoy a stable retirement.

Gray divorce can be more financially devastating than divorces that happen early in life because there is less time to regain a financial footing. Women who divorce after 50 can be especially susceptible to financial issues, especially if they stepped away from their career to be a stay-at-home parent. Studies show that 27 percent of women who divorce after 50 live in poverty, compared to 11 percent of men in that age group.

However, there are several measures women can take to financially protect themselves. Experts recommend that women maintain their financial independence during marriage by maintaining separate bank accounts and credit lines in their own name. It may be advisable for some women to set money aside that cannot be accessed by a spouse. Women should also know how much retirement and Social Security they have coming. If it isn't enough, they should make adjustments. During the divorce proceedings, arrangements should be made for life, property, disability and long-term care insurance in the final divorce settlement. After divorce, women should also reduce their spending to make it easier to financially rebound.

Massachusetts women facing divorce may benefit by consulting with an attorney. Legal counsel could help negotiate agreements for alimony, child support, property division and other important divorce legal issues.

Source: Forbes, "Gray Divorce: A Financial Double Whammy For Women," Jeff Landers, July 13, 2016

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