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Older divorcing adults face greater chances of poverty

As the divorce rate has dropped among younger couples throughout the country, the rate for couples over the age of 50 has been on the rise. Divorce for any age group can leave one or both parties in a financially difficult position, and for older South Carolina couples, it may imperil their retirement. One study found that a woman is more likely to work past her retirement age if she divorces when she is older.

The cost of divorce is not just limited to the legal fees associated with the process itself. In addition to splitting assets in half, each person goes on to pay for things such as rent and utilities that they previously shared. Furthermore, women with children in particular may tend to relinquish their share of a retirement account in exchange for keeping the family home. However, many financial planners advise against this not only because of the cost of maintaining the home but because of the dent this makes in the woman's retirement savings.

According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, Americans over 62 who have never divorced have a poverty rate of only 3.4 percent. For people who divorced after the age of 50, the percentage is almost 20 percent.

These figures point to the importance of protecting one's financial security during divorce negotiations about property division. This should be a priority regardless of age. There may be a number of obstacles to doing so. The other spouse might attempt to hide assets or make negotiations more difficult. A person might not have handled the family finances and may not know much about financial planning or may agree to unfavorable terms in hopes of getting the divorce over with quickly, which is why having legal assistance at this stage could be advisable.

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