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Divorce after 50: You can survive it

Divorcing after 20 or 30 years of marriage is harsh -- but for many women, it also means returning to the workforce.

Some of them haven't kept up their job skills or abandoned careers long ago in order to care for husband, children and home.

So how do you come out on top? According to at least one woman who managed it, you go back out into the world with a plan:

  1. Cut down your expenses. You have to accept early that your standard of living has changed. You can be happy with less if you decide you are willing to be -- and every dime you don't spend, you get to save for future comforts.
  2. Sell the house or consider getting roommates. In fact, you may need to do both. If you kept the house in the divorce, taking in roommates for a while can let you ease the pangs of loneliness (which may be temporary) and make it easier to pay the bills while your house accrues value. Then, when you do sell it, you have a nice nest egg to live on.
  3. If you can, head to school. The health care industry is particularly rife with jobs that require only specific training or two-year degrees. You can find full-time work using that degree that will give you benefits, including a pension plan. Remember all that money you're saving by reducing your lifestyle and taking in roommates? That's where to put it.
  4. Explore your options when it comes time to file for Social Security. You may be able to file for a benefit on your spouse's record and your own. Social Security also gives you the option of filing a restricted application on your spouse's record and delaying the application on your own record so that you accumulate additional earnings and qualify for a higher benefit.

Divorce after the age of 50 doesn't have to end in disaster. It does, however, take resolve and a hard-nosed approach to your choices. For more advice on divorce or other family law issues, consider talking to an attorney.

Source: Forbes, "How One Woman Overcame A Divorce Late In Life," Tania Brown, accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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