It takes 5 years to recover financially from divorce.

Divorce is second only to death of a spouse when it comes to most stressful life events, according to the Pain Doctor. Rounding out the top ten are marital separation, imprisonment, death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, marriage, being fired, marital reconciliation and retirement.

While the emotional pain is obvious and expected, more of a shock with each of these stressful life events is the monetary impact.

For example, did you know it takes an average of five years for someone to recover financially from divorce? That’s a double hit of stress from the collapse of your relationship and your personal finances.

Suddenly it’s place at number two on the pain-o-metre is starting to make sense.

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Video via Mamamia

But why so long? If you’ve been together for quite some time you’ve obviously built up some wealth with assets and savings, right? Surely you just split it down the middle and you’re on your way?

It’s not that simple.

The most common length of a marriage, according to family lawyers McKinley Irvin, is eight years. Just over half of divorcing couples split after having kids and getting a mortgage, not to mention other so-called “good debt” scenarios such as investments.

The For Richer, For Poorer: Divorce in Australia report released late last year commissioned by NATSEM and AMP measured the average financial recovery period at five years.


Also it goes without saying that the messier the divorce, the worse the financial situation will be. Money and emotions don’t mix, particularly when it comes to the pain of divorce.

According to the report financial effects of divorce hit divorced women particularly hard when it comes to:



Quality of life

Educational outcomes for children

Financial recovery after divorce takes 5 years. Image: What Happens in Vegas, 20th Century Fox

The report also found that home ownership is difficult for many divorced parents. 40 per cent of divorced mothers and 32 per cent of divorced fathers are still renting five years after the marriage breaks down.


Women's Divorce suggests a number of strategies women can use to try and rebuild their financial positions after divorce to make the transition as smooth as possible.

They have divided post-divorce finances into four categories:

1. Do a budget

2. Save as much as you can

3. Manage credit and debt

4. Plan for the future

Of course none of this can really be tackled until the financial settlement is completed, which can sometimes take longer than the divorce itself, however it's further incentive to settle as quickly as possible.

Easier said than done.

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And still, women are shown to be worse off than men after divorce when it comes to finances with a study by the Federal Government's Institute of Family Studies, finding one of the main reasons for this is the ability of men to find more and better paid work much easier than women.

This could be due to the fact that many women have leaned out of their careers to raise children or have quit their careers altogether.

Managing your joint finances well during marriage makes it all much simpler in the event of a divorce and with evidence showing women are far worse off financially than men after divorce, it adds weight to advice that women take control of their finances early and keep control.

Regardless of whether their marriage works out or not.

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