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A look at research on divorce and retirement

A great deal of social science research focuses on family structure. In terms of marriage and divorce, researchers have compiled an astounding amount of data on how Americans both create and deconstruct their family units. For those in Florida who are preparing to divorce and are also nearing retirement age, understanding these statistics can underscore the importance of making wise financial decisions during the divorce process.

Studies that focus on divorce rates can yield different results, but the overall picture is one in which nearly half of all American marriages will eventually fail. When it comes to statistics on the age at which people seek divorce, research shows that older Americans are choosing divorce far more often than they did in generations past. Unfortunately, research also shows that both men and women who divorce after the age of 50 suffer serious financial consequences as a result.

Ending a marriage requires setting up two households using the same level of income that formerly supported only one. That places a burden on both parties, although other research suggests that women fare worse than men when it comes to financial instability. In fact, one study asserts that women who divorce after the age of 50 are more likely to remain working full time between the ages of 50 and 74.

When it comes to divorce and retirement, the best approach is for both spouses to make wise financial decisions as they move through the divorce process. This means choosing assets that are in line with their individual financial goals and perhaps liquidating other assets that do not support retirement planning. For Florida spouses who are able to integrate financial planning into the divorce process, the outcome can be favorable.

Source: Bloomberg, "Divorce Is Destroying Retirement", Ben Steverman, Oct. 17, 2016

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