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'Gray divorces' often leave women in poverty

So-called 'gray divorces' between senior citizens frequently leave the wives impoverished, according to a study done by sociologists at Bowling Green State University in 2010. The women discover to their chagrin that meager Social Security benefits are insufficient to meet their basic needs.

Researchers focused on 9,649 women over 62 (and their partners) who responded to a Health and Retirement Study (HRS). They discovered that the real economic losers in gray divorces were the women suffered the most economically, as 27 percent of those responding met the qualifications of poverty.

Conversely, only 11 percent of the male senior citizens who divorced lived in poverty. Women who never got married also suffered economic deprivation, as a quarter of them lived at or below the poverty line.

This contrasted starkly with women widowed later in their married lives, as this demographic group had the greatest financial advantages. It's a significant development, as the rate of divorce among senior citizens is climbing.

Part of the problem is those women who divorce in their 60s or older don't have much time to work and cover any financial deficits. That makes them less likely to be able to bounce back financially after their divorces. Women who get divorces during their younger years don't struggle as much making ends meet, the sociologists learned.

These statistics are worrisome for older Florida women who opt out of their marriages. Because of the economic uncertainties they face, it is vital that their family law attorneys aggressively pursue substantial property settlements that will allow them to keep the wolf from the door as they enter their golden years uncoupled.

Source: Bowling Green State University, "New research shows gray divorced women are more likely to be poor," accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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