Staying in an unhappy marriage is a burden that no one in California should have to bear. However, couples over the age of 50 may not feel as if they have any other choice. Even for a person who is relatively well-off may worry about what finances will look like after a divorce. Much of this worry centers around how money and other valuable assets will be split during property division.
Most people will experience some type of financial setback after divorce, but younger adults have more time and resources to catch back up. In gray divorces -- divorce involving adults 50 or over -- individuals do not have the same opportunities to recuperate any losses, particularly in regard to retirement. Even if a person has upwards of 10 years before hitting retirement age, the chances that he or she has bounced back financially are slim.
A 2017 study found that the standard of living for women over the age of 50 drops by 45% after divorce. Younger women experience only half that. Men are not affected quite as significantly as women, and only experience a 21% decrease in standard of living.
The drop in standard of living is closely tied to decreased wealth. When divorcing after 50, both men and women can expect to lose approximately 50% of their wealth. However, women seem to struggle to recover from this type of financial loss. The poverty rate is 27% for women who experienced gray divorce and are over the age of 63. This poverty rate is nine times that of couples who are still married, and higher than all other groups -- such as widows and widowers -- in this age range.
Understanding the possible financial ramifications of divorce should not deter someone from seeking a necessary divorce. Instead, he or she should consider how to incorporate this knowledge during all aspects of divorce, including property division and alimony negotiations. Since future finances and wealth are on the line, some individuals choose to speak with an experienced California attorney about their options.