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‘Grey divorce’ leaves women financially disadvantaged

Female baby boomers are subject to "considerable economic" disadvantages when going through a divorce – in contrast with men – research from the US has found.

According to research conducted by academics at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Americans who go through divorce in the later stages of life experience "wide-ranging" financial consequences.

However, the research found that in comparison to men, women who go through "grey divorce" (which refers to those who divorce at an older age) are much more likely to experience "considerable economic disadvantages" than men.

"They receive smaller social security benefits, on average, than all other single women and men. They also confront exceptionally high poverty levels," the research report stated.

"Among men, economic well-being is comparable for grey divorcees and late widowers. Thus, it is grey divorced women who are left behind when a marital dissolution occurs in late life.

"Divorce timing matters for women: early divorced women enjoy a 30 per cent lower poverty rate than grey divorced women. Either early divorce is less financially devastating than grey divorce, or early divorced women are able to recoup divorce-related financial losses over time," the report said.

The research also found that women who divorce at a later age are far more likely to find themselves living in poverty than women who divorce at an early age.