Older couples are divorcing at two-to-three times the rate they did prior to 1990, while the rate for younger couples is slowing down. This trend was highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article that discussed the divorce rate disparity between couples under 55 and those over that threshold.
So-called “gray divorces” can be particularly challenging when it comes to the asset division phase of the process, as these couples often have decades worth of assets to divide. Texas’ status as a community property state can make the situation even more complex.
Understanding the Issue
In July, Bloomberg published an article called “Divorce Is Destroying the Finances of Americans Over 50.” It discusses a new study from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research that shows the damage—emotional and financial—that older couples endure at the end of their marriage.
On the emotional side, the study found that people who went through a gray divorce reported higher levels of depression than people whose spouses died.
The economic impacts for older couples are even more surprising:
- The average person who gets divorced after 50 can expect to see a wealth decrease of around 50 percent.
- Women who divorce after 50 see their standard of living drop 45 percent on average.
- Men see a standard of living decrease of 21 percent on average.
Post-Divorce Economic Challenges for Older People
The study’s lead researcher, professor Susan Brown of Bowling Green State University, said one of the more troubling realities is that older people are having a hard time bouncing back financially after divorce. She and her colleagues tracked study participants for 10 years after their divorces and found that “there is no appreciable recovery on the wealth front … no appreciable recovery in the standard of living.”
Women, who often devoted decades to staying home and caring for children, have a particularly tough time getting back into the workforce. As retirement gets closer, the situation gets even more alarming: women 63 and older who went through gray divorce have a poverty rate of 27 percent, far more than anyone else of that age.
The Importance of Strong Legal Representation
If you are an older person thinking about divorce, having a strong, experienced Texas attorney on your side is critical. Your post-divorce financial life will be greatly impacted by how your marital and debts are divided, and your attorney’s knowledge, strategies, and skills can all affect the outcome.
You’ll find one of Texas’ most trusted and proven family lawyers here at the Law Office of V. Wayne Ward in Fort Worth. Our entire team will be in your corner, fighting to ensure you have a bright future. Contact us anytime to arrange a confidential attorney consultation.