Marriage is a partnership, and it is not unusual for both men and women to combine their incomes while married, even if one of them earns more than the other. Sometimes, one spouse even stays out of the workforce while married, making the other spouse the primary breadwinner. Still, are women on the same financial footing as men post-divorce?
Women can struggle financially post-divorce
According to the Government Accountability Office, if a woman aged 50 or older divorces, she could see a 41% decline in her income. Moreover, women may see their standard of living go down by approximately 73% after a divorce.
In comparison, a man who goes through a divorce could see an approximate 42% uptick in his standard of living post-divorce. Thus, it is essential that women seeking a divorce late in life prepare financially for their post-divorce life.
Preparing financially for your post-divorce life
There are two major areas in the divorce process that older women can focus on to help themselves out financially. They are the property division process and alimony.
In the property division process, women will want to pay attention to the division of retirement accounts. If a 401(k), IRA or pension was funded during the marriage, it may be considered marital property to which both spouses have an ownership interest. Simply put, a woman may be entitled to a portion of her spouse’s retirement account.
Also, the family home is another significant asset to be divided in a divorce. If the mortgage is paid off and you can afford taxes and upkeep, it may be worthwhile to try to retain the family home post-divorce.
Alimony is another financial factor to pay attention to in a divorce. While generally, permanent alimony is not always an option in a New Jersey divorce, alimony may still be awarded for a duration that is at or less then the length of the marriage.
Also, gender is not a factor in awarding alimony. If a husband earns more than his wife, he may have to pay alimony and a wife who earns more than her husband may have to pay alimony.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees when a marriage of decades is unravelling. Many women seeking a divorce need to make sure they can meet their financial needs moving forward, so it is important to pay attention to the financial topics of property division and alimony during the divorce process.