Divorce in the United States surged in the 1970s and 1980s as the baby boomers reached adulthood. As they are in retirement age, they’re still splitting up, and it’s having an effect on retirement savings and retirement plans.

Over the years divorce rates for younger Americans have fallen, while failed marriages among people over 50 years old doubled from 1990 to 2010, according to Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family & Marriage Research.

Some other interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau include:

  • Between 2009 and 2019, the marriage rate in Maryland remained nearly the same. (16.1 to 15.6 per 1,000 women aged 15 years and older)
  • Between 2009 and 2019, the divorce rate in Maryland did not change significantly (8.2 to 7.1 per 1,000 women aged 15 years and older)

As a result, the overall risk for getting divorced in the U.S. has remained constant…about half of all marriages will end in divorce.

A study by the Insured Retirement Institute found that 24% of baby boomers who were divorced indicated that they would be worse off in their retirement due to their divorce, and 23% said they will need to work longer as a result of their divorce.


Unlike divorces earlier in life, later breakups can wreak havoc on individual finances, often forcing you to delay retirement. The financial price of divorce is bigger than legal fees and court costs. It also means splitting your assets in two while many costs suddenly double: two homes to maintain, two rents, two electricity bills, etc.

These types of new, unplanned expenses can lower the amount of money you are able to put away for retirement each month. In some cases, having to use or even exhaust retirement dollars can further deplete what was previously put away, causing you to rethink how much money you will have available in retirement and force you to continue working past when you originally planned.

Divorce is stressful enough, but the added worry about losing retirement assets that you have worked for twenty or thirty years to accumulate can be overwhelming.

And while both men and women are affected by later-in-life divorces, statistics show that women often are disproportionately affected worse. When women with children divorce, they often trade away retirement assets to hold onto the family home. But financial planners warn this can be a big mistake – even if you’re able to afford the costs of maintaining the home, you can end up way behind on retirement savings.


  • Thinking that you can figure it all out yourself. Your attorney and, in some cases, financial advisor, should be part of your team to help guide you
  • Thinking that you can retire to wherever you want, especially if you have minor children; since custody issues could limit where you can live
  • Not realizing that minor children may be entitled to Social Security
  • Not using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will expose you to tax penalties when dividing up assets that are in a 401k, IRA, or other retirement savings.


At Pare & Associates, we have been working with clients for more than thirty (30) years, helping to guide them through their separation and divorce. We believe that making a plan is the single most important first step in any family law situation. When you are going through a separation and divorce and are approaching retirement age, it becomes critical to sit down with your attorney and discuss your relationship, financial situation, and financial goals. You have worked for years to save for retirement and the “golden years”. We are here to help you maintain those dreams and goals. We will work with you to understand your unique situation and build a plan – with you – that focuses on those goals.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to talk about your situation. Our offices are scheduling in-person, online, and phone consultations. Call us at 301-515-1190 or visit us online at alicelaw.com to schedule an appointment.