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6 unwelcome financial surprises in store for divorcing women

The results of a study show that many women in the throes of ending their marriage or already divorced face surprises that threaten their financial wellbeing.

Here are study findings and six unwelcome financial surprises women most often encounter during the divorce process.

About the survey

The online marketplace Worthy surveyed 1,785 women facing divorce, going through divorce or already divorced about the financial side of their experience. In the study, entitled “Building a Financial Fresh Start,” almost half, 46%, responded that financial surprises were part of the divorce process.

Common financial issues

The six surprises that were most common among the survey participants included:

  •         Not realizing the extent of their marital debt, such as the mortgage, credit card debt, vehicle financing, student loans and 401(k) loans
  •         Assuming they could keep the family home
  •         Assuming that alimony and/or child support payments would either be higher or last longer
  •         The high cost of health insurance
  •         Not anticipating the need to go back to work
  •         Underestimating the cost of obtaining a divorce

Results among younger women

The survey showed that, while married, younger women were more inclined than older women to give total control of their finances to their husbands. This included earning money, investing for the future and paying bills. The result, of course, is that in divorce, these women face a personal financial crisis. They must take responsibility for financial matters and learn how to budget, save and invest their money. Many find this more difficult than it should be.

Looking ahead

A woman can find divorce liberating, yet frightening in terms of her future prospects. The majority of survey participants confessed that their biggest fear was the ability to live on one income. Women today live longer, so at any age, they must make good decisions to ensure that they do not outlive their financial resources. Becoming educated about managing day-to-day finances and relying on professional guidance helps a divorcing woman of any age enjoy a bright and stable future.

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