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Women tend to be hit with financial surprises during divorce

Divorce can act as a financial wake up call to women in Illinois, especially if they left all financial matters to their husbands. A recent survey of 1,785 women who were planning to divorce, in the middle of a divorce or had completed a divorce indicated that 46 percent of them had experienced financial surprises when ending their marriages.

A divorce financial analyst who contributed to the survey process agreed that women frequently get some eye-opening surprises about money matters. She said that some clients had limited knowledge of marital debts arising from home equity loans, mortgages, 401(k) loans, student loans, car payments and credit cards. Some of her clients had not expected that they would need to enter the workforce again. They had assumed that they would receive larger amounts of spousal or child support. A portion of women had expected that keeping the marital home would have been easier to achieve. The huge cost of health insurance also surprised some clients.

The survey also inquired about future financial plans for divorcees. Women age 55 and over made investing a priority twice as often as younger women. The financial analyst pointed out the necessity of saving for retirement because women might outlive their savings or ability to work. Meeting long-term financial needs would likely require cutting expenses or finding ways to earn more money.

Legal advice might improve a person's understanding of financial issues during a divorce. An attorney may be able to describe how the law might direct the division of marital assets and debts. This information might enable someone to begin planning a post-divorce budget. An attorney may also decide to take steps to protect someone's rights to property and support for children when negotiating a divorce settlement.

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