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Women face special financial problems in divorce

Divorce is difficult at any age, but it can be particularly stressful later in life. This is especially true for women who stayed home to take care of their children or who worked but earned comparatively less than their partners.

Women in these situations often have a harder time making ends meet after divorce, and many find themselves unable to afford retirement. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure this doesn't happen to you.

Focusing on the long-term

Many women take a short-term view in divorce. Some focus on sentimental assets like the family home, but are unable to afford the ongoing costs. Others are averse to conflict, and would rather get the divorce over and done with than put up a fight.

Ultimately, these attitudes are not helpful. The decisions you make during a divorce will affect your finances for the rest of your life. Work with your lawyer to develop a property division strategy that meets your long term goals. For example, you may want to fight for a portion of your spouse's retirement savings, since this is an asset that will grow over time.

Fighting for spousal support

Even if you didn't earn as much as your spouse, you still contributed equally (or more) to your family's success. It is fair to ask for those contributions to be recognized.

Spousal support, called "maintenance" in Colorado and "alimony" in other states, is designed to help a lower-earning spouse maintain a quality standard of living after divorce. It may be temporary - for example, to give you time to go back to school or find a well-paying job - or permanent.

Talk to your lawyer about maintenance, and don't be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

Get a lawyer who will fight for you

It's ok if you don't want to battle with your spouse during divorce. That's what your lawyer is for. When choosing a lawyer, you want to find someone who will listen to you and help you meet your goals. But, it's just as important to find someone who will stand up for you when things get hard.

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