Relinquishing financial duties may complicate gray divorce

For generations, women have declared their equality to men, insisting their husbands share household chores and child-rearing duties. Women in Georgia are a strong force in the workplace, and men have learned to relish stay-at-home responsibilities. The roles of men and women within opposite sex marriages have equalized in many areas, but one glaring weakness may leave older women vulnerable in the event of a divorce.

A recent report revealed that more than half of married women are hands-off when it comes to the family financing. They leave the management of the money to their husbands. About 61 percent also allow their husbands free range to make investment decisions. When couples with this financial arrangement divorce, the women often find they know very little about how to budget, how to invest or how to protect themselves financially.

A survey of divorced and widowed women over age 50 revealed that they almost unanimously regretted not taking a more active role in their family finances. Allowing one person to handle the money leads to secrets that may be shocking during a divorce. For example, while some women learned of retirement accounts or savings of which they were unaware, others learned that their spouses had accumulated secret debt, had made excessive purchases or had hidden assets.

Married couples are encouraged to have transparency about their finances. In fact, 80 percent of women who were financially unaware in their first marriages took an active role in the decision making in their subsequent relationships. For those facing a late-life divorce, the assistance of a Georgia attorney is recommended to protect their rights and interests during asset division.

Source:, "Rise of 'Gray' Divorce Forces Financial Reckoning After 50", Suzanne Woolley, April 13, 2018

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