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Divorce over the age of 50 particularly hard on women

The number of older couples filing for divorce in Colorado and around the country is on the rise. Divorce rates began to fall in the United States in the 1990s after soaring in the 70s and 80s, but divorces involving people over the age of 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010. Sociologists refer to the phenomena as gray divorce, and it can be particularly difficult for women who are often forced back into the job market after decades spent raising a family.

Poverty statistics clearly show how vulnerable women are in gray divorce cases. While only about 11 percent of men who divorce after the age of 50 fall into poverty, approximately 27 percent of gray divorced women live on income that would place them below the federal poverty line. Younger divorced women are able to evaluate their choices and plan ahead, but the options available to older divorced women are few.

Most experts agree that the best preparation for unexpected financial shocks like divorce is to become more familiar and involved with monetary matters like retirement and estate plans, Social Security benefits and insurance policies. The Social Security Administration has provisions in place to protect the interests of spouses who sacrificed their careers to raise a family, but there are certain eligibility requirements.

Experienced family law attorneys will likely be familiar with the rules dealing with Social Security benefits for divorced spouses, and they may urge their divorce clients over the age of 50 to consider their retirement needs carefully before making any compromises during property division or spousal support negotiations. Attorneys may also call upon accountants or other financial professionals when the assets or incomes of marital estates are unclear due to complex business arrangements or sophisticated investment portfolios.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020