Women don’t have to suffer financially after divorce

Living well into a retirement usually hinges on one’s financial foundation built earlier in life. But even if a foundation seems sturdy enough, some life events — such as divorce — can cause serious damage. Divorce tends to hit women’s finances much more than men’s, so Illinois women who are in or near retirement should be ready to advocate for themselves.

Of those aged 65 or older, men typically fare better financially than women. Women in this age group are 80% more likely to live in poverty than men of the same age. This is because the average woman suffers a 30% loss in her accustomed standard of living after a divorce. Men usually experience a 10% increase in standard of living.

A woman who hopes to minimize this financial impact must understand her liquidity needs — in other words, her ability to access cash. Keeping a vehicle or a home in a divorce might seem like a good way to ensure that access, but it is not always a good idea. Vehicles depreciate in value relatively quickly, and homes do not always appreciate as quickly as homeowners expect. For some women, it may be more appropriate to focus on getting marital assets that offer sensible liquidity.

Unfortunately, some women suffer financially because it is difficult to face one’s new normal. This is not necessarily about refusing to lower one’s standard. Many women may find it painful to accept that their lives did not go as planned, especially when that includes divorcing after decades of marriage. Meeting with an experienced financial planner can be helpful for these women.

But speaking with a financial planner once or twice is not enough to secure one’s finances during divorce. Illinois family law is complicated, and those who try navigating the process on their own often struggle with things like property division, alimony and more. For some women, seeking out guidance from an experienced attorney could be helpful for securing the most agreeable outcome possible.

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