How much does a divorce cost?

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By Olivia Maragna

During the past 20 years, the age for Australians marrying for the first time has increased as couples call it quits later in life, with the median age of men divorcing around 45 and women at 43.

Divorce has a significant impact on the lives of everyone involved with one in two divorces involving children. In addition to this, divorce typically occurs at prime wealth accumulation ages, so the impact of divorce can also be financially devastating, costing the nation up to $14 billion in government assistance and court costs.
Four out of every 10 divorces are applied for jointly by both partners. However, applications made by women outnumber those made by men, 31.6 per cent to 25.1 per cent of all divorces.

The average time it takes from separation to divorce is three and a half years which typically means the financial effects are either overlooked or mismanaged and long-term financial planning is postponed.

The reality is, divorce has an overwhelming financial impact on financial futures.

Divorced parents aged between 45 and 64 have 25 per cent less assets than their married counterparts.

Super balances for divorced mothers are 68 per cent less than married mothers, while on average a divorced mother has 37 per cent less super than a divorced father.

And divorced fathers aged 45-64 still have 60 per cent less superannuation than married fathers five years after a marriage breakdown.

While this research indicated that it takes five years to recover from the financial impact of divorce, there remains a 20 per cent gap in the financial wellbeing of divorced and married couples even six years later.

Divorce is not pretty, but ignoring the financial impacts may mean that your own financial future is in jeopardy. Don’t ignore your financial affairs during this traumatic time and talk to an independent financial adviser to help you financially, both during and after divorce.

This article also appears on the Sydney Morning Herald website

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