In a very interesting article in U.S. News, the author describes the plight of “women in transition,” the phrase given to women who undergo a major life change after 50, usually through a divorce. Statistics indicate that these transitions impact women much more than men, and in particular leave women in difficult financial situations.
Women typically earn less than men, the article states, and this disparity gets worse when we look at transitional times where women may have been out of the workforce or employed only part-time. Suddenly without a significant source of income and still requiring funds to support themselves, these women have to quickly find ways to increase earnings or reduce spending – and also to fight for spousal support.
Divorce for women in transition should focus on both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, these women need their attorney to help stabilize the status quo, including temporary spousal and/or child support. But women in transition should see this as a temporary fix. In the long-term, the court will not sustain that level of financial support from the former spouse. To prepare for that eventuality, these women need to meet with a financial advisor and plan how to meet two key goals: find a workable and sustainable immediate financial future (factoring in employment opportunities and downsizing) and the long-term issues of retirement (will funds be available, how much, and how to increase in the interim).
Additionally, women in transition need to think about emergencies – what happens in the event of a health scare or accident? Do you have sufficient insurance coverage? If not, these considerations should be part of any divorce settlement, as after the divorce you cannot go back and require your former spouse to help.
Finally, women in transition should seek counseling or other help to gain a solid perspective on these changes. Look for support groups and rely on family and friends where possible.
If you have questions about women in transition and divorce, contact us – we can help.