Despite the common belief that half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce, studies show the overall divorce rate in Pennsylvania and nationwide has decreased over the past 20 years. However, the divorce rate for those age 50 and above has doubled since 1990.
Divorces later in life have the potential to cause more financial problems than those that occur in younger years because they could impact retirement savings. There may also be less time to recover financial losses due to retirement or limited job opportunities. So what can older people do to protect themselves before they begin divorce proceedings?
Experts say that people should carefully review their financial situation before deciding to divorce. This includes evaluating all income and expenditure sources. Some people may also find it helpful to seek new sources of income. For example, women experience a 41 percent drop in income after divorce, compared with a 23 percent drop for men, according to the Government Accountability Office. Finding supplemental income sources and downsizing expenses could help the transition go more smoothly. If someone is close to certain financial milestones, such as becoming eligible for Medicare or Social Security, it may be a good idea to delay filing for divorce until they are met. Finally, those considering divorce should make the most of retirement benefits by carefully considering pension rules, tax regulations and state laws on marital property.
Pennsylvania residents facing divorce may benefit by consulting with an attorney as soon as possible. Legal counsel could help negotiate settlements on child custody, child support, alimony, asset division and other important divorce legal agreements. If a modification agreement is necessary, an attorney could help file a petition with the court.