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Women & Wealth: Contemplating Divorce

10 February 2020

While February is the month that plays host to Valentine’s Day, it’s also the month that sees a steady climb in filings for divorce according to researchers at the University of Washington who studied trends over a 14-year period and found consistent yearly patterns. As shown in the chart below, the jump in filings dramatically spikes during the post-holiday season. This could be due to people holding it together during times of family gatherings. Or, perhaps, more dramatically, heightened stress during times of too much family togetherness.


For people in their 50s and 60s—or beyond—divorce can be especially complex. There may not be child-custody and support issues to attend to, but the financial effects on the adults can be even greater because there simply isn’t time before retirement to regroup. Years of savings and planning intended for one household must now apply to two households.

This is, in fact, a growing challenge in the U.S. The divorce rate among older Americans, while still lower than younger couples, has more than doubled since 1990 when the boomers reached their 50s, according to Pew Research. The same study found that the divorce rate for those over 65 tripled during the same period.

The financial impacts of “gray divorce” can be especially harsh for women who may have forgone building a career to focus on raising children.  A study in the journal Research on Aging found that one-in-four gray divorced women live in poverty, while fewer than one-in-eight gray divorced men do.   While some courts will award maintenance to the lower earning spouse, with the kids out of the house, there is no context for childcare payments; a traditional lever used by courts to recognize and compensate the person primarily responsible for raising children.

Following are three examples of challenges those undergoing gray divorces may face.

If the relief of making it through the holidays has fueled a notion to begin the new year by leaving an old and challenging marriage behind . . . .Stop!  At any age, divorce involves financial and contractual relationships that need to be understood and managed.  Be sure to give your life’s prospective future the professional attention it deserves. These are painful topics, but addressing them with professional assistance is likely to lead to better outcomes.  

Calamos Wealth Management and its representatives do not provide accounting, tax or legal advice. Each individual’s tax and financial situation is unique. You should consult your tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning your particular situation. For more information about federal and state taxes, please consult the Internal Revenue Service and the appropriate state-level departments of revenue, respectively. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax or legal advice.
You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized advice from Calamos Wealth Management LLC. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Calamos Wealth Management LLC is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. If you are a Calamos Wealth Management LLC client, please remember to contact Calamos Wealth Management LLC, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Calamos Wealth Management LLC’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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