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How might divorce in your Golden Years impact your retirement?

Divorce rates nationally are on the decline, with the exception of one group—Americans over the age of 50. Research conducted by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research reveals that the divorce rate among retirees has doubled over the past 20 years. While divorce is life changing for any age group, it can inflict financial ruin for retirees. Retired couples who were prepared for retirement will now find themselves with half the capital that they once had. Given the immense potential repercussions of a so-called gray divorce, it is essential for older Americans who are contemplating divorce to contact a Texas divorce lawyer right away.

Gray Divorce Can Decrease Your Standard of Living

You work for years to prepare yourself and your spouse to be able to retire, only to find your marriage falling apart. A divorce during or approaching your retirement years can have a significant negative repercussion on your standard of living and preparedness for retirement. In fact, divorce financial analysts found that the average woman suffered a 45 percent decline in standard of living after a divorce, and men saw a decline of 21 percent.  

The disparity between the genders is thought to stem from the fact that often the man takes the retirement account in the divorce, while the woman takes the house. The man therefore continues to collect funds for retirement, while the woman may be strapped with mortgage and repair expenses. Even further, women who stayed home to raise their children at some point during the marriage may not qualify for their own retirement benefits.

Another major loss to consider in a gray divorce is that of healthcare. When couples split, often the non-working spouse will lose health insurance coverage which they previously qualified for through their spouse’s employer. As you approach retirement, health insurance may become all the more important.