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Older women who divorce more likely to be in poverty

Divorce among older couples in Michigan is on the rise, and now many baby boomers are entering their retirement years newly single. Divorce among people over age 50 has more than doubled in the past two decades. Several new studies have shown that late-life divorce may not be good for women's retirement plans.

Boston College researchers and Mathematica Policy Research studied survey data from 56,000 women and determined that older women are more likely to be employed full-time if they went through a divorce after the age of 50. When looking at women ages 50 to 74, researchers observed a three percent increase in the likelihood of full-time employment for each 10-year increase in age at the time of divorce.

Divorce may have a greater impact on women's finances than it does on men's finances because women tend to take more breaks in their careers during marriage. Researchers have also found that women who have had a high risk for divorce invest more time in their careers during their marriages and end up better prepared financially when their marriages end. A study by the Social Security Administration found that elderly women who were never married are less likely to be in poverty than elderly divorced women.

There are usually a lot of assets to divide when older people go through a divorce. People who are nearing the age of retirement may have real estate, investments, retirement accounts and a house full of possessions that must be divided in a divorce settlement. A divorce attorney may be able to represent older individuals during divorce negotiations and help the individuals to work out fair settlements.

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