Divorce can shed new light on family finances

For people over 50 in Florida and across the country, the divorce rate has doubled since the late 1990s. Many older couples have spent their entire lives with one spouse in charge of all major financial matters. In most cases, the husband manages financial matters such as investments, life insurance and retirement funds. Therefore, a later-in-life divorce can cause a financial shock when each spouse has to handle their own finances following a split. In addition, recently separated spouses may discover hidden or unpleasant financial realities of which they were previously unaware.

In a recent study, researchers with UBS Global Wealth Management surveyed both divorced and widowed women as well as married couples. All of the survey participants had at least $250,000 in investable assets. Of the married respondents, 56 percent of women stated that they rely on their husbands for major financial decisions. While this may be heavily associated with older women, even 61 percent of Millennial married women said that their husbands are in charge of the marital finances.

Divorce can change a person's perspective on financial knowledge and involvement. A majority of the widowed and divorced women who responded, 59 percent, expressed regret at their lack of financial decision-making during their marriages. On the other hand, 80 percent of the married women expressed contentment with the current division of financial labor.

In the long run, financial experts warn that a lack of involvement in family finances can be damaging, especially in case of divorce or widowhood. Unknown financial matters can also come to light during divorce as 56 percent of surveyed divorcees discovered new financial information as part of the split. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to protect their interests in asset division, uncover any hidden financial assets and work with other finance professionals to develop a post-divorce plan.

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