Women and Divorce – Financial Decisions

Moving toward financial independence post-divorce can be a challenge.  Studies on issues relating to women and money highlight unique financial issues women face, divorce-related or not.  So women rebuilding their financial future now that the divorce is real may find their own challenges even more magnified.  A greater understanding of the issues involved can lead to a better sense of resolve and direction for moving forward.

My first article focused on the lower earning capacity, in general, experienced by women in relation to men.  A second area that can be important in understanding the best way forward post-divorce is recognizing how different women’s experiences in making decisions tend to be from men’s.  Divorce is a big tangle of decisions, all connected in some way, and working through the maze of priorities can be intimidating.  Especially if you have been in a partnership that divided the household responsibilities along traditional lines, some of the financial areas that now require your attention may be less than familiar.

Not always, but frequently, women’s exposure to financial decision making has been in relation to the day to day issues, namely budgets, bill paying, running a household, etc.  Studies show that many of the decisions on “big picture” aspects of women’s finances have been deferred to their spouses, like retirement planning, investment decisions, insurance or annuity needs.  Sort of the divide and conquer attitude toward running a household – very efficient and effective.  Until the divorce forces that one household into two.  Then both parties may face financial decisions for which they have little or no background information.  Unfortunately for women, their learning curve may involve ‘steeper’ issues with immediate consequences, i.e. Can I afford to keep the marital home?  Can I qualify for refinancing the mortgage? What do I do with the lump sum settlement?  How do I make the most of these stock options?

A financial advisor who understands the legal and financial issues of divorce like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can be an invaluable resource for any woman transitioning through divorce.  Working with a financial advisor to plan your path to post-divorce independence can help you gain information on all of your choices and opportunities, and begin making confident decisions for your best independent future.  Deciding to spend some time and energy to find a trusted advisor to guide you is one of the first and best decisions you can make!

Carrie D. Wilson, CFP®, CDFA™


  • 2006 Allianz Women, Money, and Power StudyFocus Groups and nationwide online survey conducted by Larson Research and Strategy
  • 2007 Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study Phase II

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC.  Divorce Financial Help is not affiliated with Clark, Waters & Hardy, LLC.
NFPSI is not affiliated with either Divorce Financial Help or Clark, Waters & Hardy, LLC.