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Americans largely fail to prepare for divorce or widowhood

According to a study conducted by TD Ameritrade, 65 percent of married people lack a plan for handling their finances in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. Connecticut residents may want to consider their financial plans in the event of their marriage ending as money is among the most-disrupted areas when divorce occurs.

Approximately a quarter of Americans aged 65 and older become widowed, and around 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, according to TD Ameritrade. A managing director there said people could bolster their personal financial security by planning for events that leave them alone. In the study, individuals who were married reported incomes averaging $61,700 annually while those who were divorced averaged $9,800 less. Widows and widowers reported personal incomes of $13,100 less than married people.

Among married individuals in the study, 43 percent said they felt financially secure compared with only 25 percent of divorced individuals. Only 30 percent of divorcees said they expected financial security during retirement, and 52 percent of those who were married said they expected their retirements to be financially secure. According to the study, individuals who were widowed had a somewhat easier time than divorcees financially with 42 percent of widows and widowers saying they expected to be financially secure during retirement.

The end of a marriage is an emotionally taxing, difficult process. It undermines financial security in many cases, but there are steps that can be taken to lessen the blow. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to help by identifying marital assets or negotiating property settlement on his or her client's behalf. A lawyer may be able to argue on the client's behalf during divorce proceedings or suggest steps he or she can take during the marriage to ensure financial security in the event the marriage ends.

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