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Home ownership is key for divorcing women

New York couples entering divorce negotiations have many things to consider. However, women in particular should be mindful of something called the ‘divorce gap.” This documented phenomenon shows that women who divorce typically see their income and net worth drop substantially while men tend to see an income bump in the aftermath of a marital split. There are some strategies one can employ to help limit the impact of this societal trend for divorcing women.

A recent study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College provides a nugget of information that could be useful in calculating divorce negotiation strategies. While divorced women are generally worse off financially than men, they are still better off than never-married women in regard to overall assets. This is true even as single women typically earn higher incomes than divorced women. The single most compelling factor according to this research is home ownership. Women who leave a marriage with home ownership have a substantially better outlook for retirement and income security than those who do not. Real estate typically appreciates in value and home ownership is a strong hedge against economic insecurities for everyone, and this is especially true for divorced women.

The equity in a home is much more difficult to access than a savings or retirement account, but the value cannot be understated. Economic realities have to be assessed; in many situations, it is impractical for a newly divorced person to maintain and continue paying for the marital home.

It is critical for the parties in a divorce to consider the long-term outlook and not enter an unwise settlement in a rush to be free from a troubled marriage. Anyone considering marital dissolution would be wise to consult with a divorce and family law attorney to evaluate options.