Link between divorce and poverty threatens older women

In spite of the factors that the court system takes into consideration during equitable property division in a Georgia divorce, it appears that many women may still face greater hardship, especially as they reach retirement age. According to, researchers have discovered that single women ages 65 and older were more likely to be living in poverty if they were divorced than if they were never married, or were widowed. Even in the first year after divorce, women often suffer a decline of up to 25 percent in their standard of living.

Divorce frequently sends women into a job market that they have not kept pace with due to child-rearing responsibilities. So, even though they have lower earning potential, they have increased financial obligations with the loss of their ex-spouses’ income. In addition, women often do not see a decrease in parenting time, which may contribute to their difficulty finding a job that pays adequately. Child support payments may be helpful while the children are young, but financial experts point out that it does not cover the detrimental long-term effects on retirement benefits.

The Social Security Administration reports that divorced women who were married at least 10 years may be able to collect social security retirement benefits based on their ex-spouses’ earnings. The amount that these women may qualify for is only half of the amount their former husbands may receive, though. Those who are eligible for more money based on their own work history would not benefit from this option. Because the average length of marriages is declining, many other divorced women may find themselves without adequate social security benefits to support them after retirement. 

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