Why experience is crucial in a 'gray' divorce

Marriage doesn't end because you've decided one day you're finished with a relationship. Because it's the sum of many complicated matters, this often leaves couples feeling angry, and the result is finger pointing and placing blame. While it isn't uncommon to have these feelings, it isn't productive when trying to come to a resolution.

This reality can apply particularly to women who are facing divorce and, if this is your situation, you may feel like you have no recourse due to affordability or other cost issues. Learning how to move beyond blame and focusing on how to work with an experienced lawyer to protect your financial future is critical for women. Let's look at why.

Experienced lawyers help prevent unnecessary losses and sort out confusions

It's no mystery women, particularly of the Baby Boomer generation, can experience significant losses during a divorce, because men traditionally accrue more retirement savings throughout marriages. Historically, women have experienced the following:

  • Lower salaries
  • Irregular work histories
  • Less aggressive savings plans
  • Fewer investments

Where do these realities leave women who are in what is defined as the "gray" divorce age, between 40 and 60 years? According to Susan Brown, a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, "The financial implications are potentially troubling. The evidence we have says gray-divorce women are at a particular disadvantage." It's for this reason that working with lawyer highly experienced in understanding and dividing complex property to help prevent losses is critical.

Another area of confusion is how Social Security benefits are split following a divorce. Women often hear misinformation with this regard and, during financial negotiations, unknowingly give up their rights to benefits. This is where the experience comes in, an attorney can help you navigate the law regarding Social Security benefits, taxes and other complications such as new legislation.

For example, last year lawmakers proposed a bill that would help women before they get to the 10-year marriage requirement for Social Security benefits. The new bill would allow women married only five to 10 years to get some help in the form of using a "phased-in earnings basis to calculate Social Security benefits."

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