The divorce rate is higher for older adults than it was in the 1990s, and when older couples in Georgia get a divorce, one spouse might not be familiar with the marital finances. In a survey by UBS Global Wealth Management of 2,500 couples and over 600 women who were divorced or widowed with at least $250,000 for investing, more than half of the women said financial planning and major investment decisions were made by their spouse.
Unfortunately, this means there could be surprises ahead for these less-informed spouses if divorce happens. More than half of the divorced or widowed women reported that when their marriages ended, financial information came to light that they were unaware of, and although it was not always negative, they sometimes found out about overspending or debts. Nearly all said that, in hindsight, they would have sought more transparency. Among remarried women, 80 percent actively participated in the marital finances.
The traditional arrangement of having husbands handle finances and investment appears to be a persistent one. More female millennials than baby boomers said their husbands handled investment decisions at 61 to 54 percent. Furthermore, a majority of men and women with children younger than 21 said they would not have an issue with a future husband of their daughter managing finances.
Finances might be particularly complex in a high-asset divorce. Assets might consist of real estate, business interests and more. A spouse who has not participated in managing the marital finances might be concerned that the other spouse is hiding assets and discuss this possibility with an attorney. The lower-earning spouse might be eligible for spousal support. This spouse may want to consult an attorney regarding the financial situation and how to negotiate with an eye to financial stability after the divorce.