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Financial divorce risks increase with age

Individuals considering a marital split later in life must often deal with increased financial repercussions related to the aging process. Texans over 50 should realize that divorcing later in life means less time to recoup financial losses or establish individual incomes than if the same events happen during their younger years. More older couples are facing a financial reckoning with continued increases in the over-50 divorce rate.

A recent study reveals that the number of marriages ending for people aged 50 and over has increased. Remarriages have always had increased failure rates, but even long-term marriages are failing at increased rates. One-third of all divorces for people over 50 in the last year have ended a marriage lasting at least three decades. This seems to indicate that couples are reevaluating their level of happiness after children are grown and leave home.

With regard to finances, spouses who leave major decisions to their partners are facing a learning curve and getting some surprises about their financial health. The survey targeted 600 women over 50 either divorced or widowed as well as 1,500 couples in the same age group. It found that 56 percent of women had relied upon their partner to make most major decisions about money, and 59 percent say they were surprised by information learned in the wake of divorce or widowhood. Not all surprises were bad: Many learned about investments and retirement plans of which they had been previously unaware.

Still, the lack of equity in knowledge can lead to deception and an unlevel playing field if a marriage ends. A whopping 94 percent of women responding would recommend insisting upon complete transparency in financial matters for newlyweds. Approximately 80 percent of remarried women reported taking a greater role in family finances in subsequent marriages.

Contemplating divorce requires considering a number of factors regardless of age. In a high-asset divorce, there is a greater level of scrutiny required in financial dealings. A qualified family law attorney may help sort through strategic options for anyone considering marital dissolution.

Source: Stepler, R. (2017, March 9) Pew Research Center, "Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America's 50+ generation."

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