Divorce can be difficult for people at any age, but multiple studies show that divorcing after the age of 50 causes some particular challenges. The divorce rate for people in this age group is twice as high as it was in 1990, but people in Texas who get a so-called “gray divorce” may struggle emotionally and financially afterwards.
One study found that depression rates for older people who divorced was higher than for people who were widowed. Others have associated divorce with such health risks as high blood pressure and weight gain. Financially, the toll for women can be especially serious. According to a 2017 study, women 63 and older who have been through divorce at a later age have a higher poverty rate of 27%. According to another study, the standard of living for men following a gray divorce drops 21% while the decrease is 45% for women.
One problem is that older adults simply do not have as much time left in the workplace to recover financially, and their retirement suffers as a result. Another study reported that finding a new partner can help with both depression and finances, but just 37% of men and 22% of women find a new partner in the decade following a gray divorce.
People of all ages should make an effort to protect themselves financially in a divorce. One important step is understanding the family finances. In some families, one spouse largely handles the money, and this can leave the other spouse at a disadvantage in a divorce. Understanding how expenses may reduce the value of an asset is also important. For example, a savings account may yield more than a retirement account of the same value if there are penalties and taxes on withdrawals from the retirement account.