Despite advances in earning power, older women are more likely than their male counterparts to encounter financial hardship following a divorce, according to a recent article in the New York Times. A woman’s standard of living after divorce fell by 45 percent, compared with just 21 percent for men.

“Gray divorce,” as a marriage breakup among people over age 50 is sometimes called, accounts for one in three U.S. divorces, according to the article. While it can be emotionally empowering for women to initiate the proceedings, it can also be devastating to their finances. An AARP study found that nearly a third of women over 65 were worried about their financial situation. Just 20 percent of men that age felt the same.

According to the report, this disparity is due to several factors, including the “motherhood penalty.” Women typically spend fewer years in the workforce, and their social security reflects that. In addition, women may depend upon their spouse’s retirement plan and have nothing saved for themselves in the event of a divorce. Additionally, ending a marriage also ends the financial benefits that come with combining incomes and reducing living costs.

“Women are more likely to experience poverty in retirement than men,” according to Richard Johnson, an economist at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC who was quoted in the article, citing older women who emerge from a divorce with fewer years to earn income and secure their financial future, while contending with potential age and gender discrimination. They also may need to start over, with mortgage obligations that take them well into their senior years.

If you need a top divorce attorney in Bucks County, we can help. Williams Family Law is the largest divorce law firm in Bucks County. Our experience in assisting clients with gray divorces could make all the difference for you. Contact us at 215-340-2207 or email