IF FALLING in love is hard on the knees, falling out of love is harder on the wallet. Australian research shows that the assets of those who split up are $180,000 to $190,000 less than non-divorced people and the gap doubles to $360,000 to $390,000 six years after divorce.
While assets take the biggest hit post-divorce for both women and men, it is women who suffer the most in terms of income in the immediate aftermath of a break-up.
The annual household income of divorced women decreased by an average of $10,000 in the first year after divorce but for men it increased by $7000.
The research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Australian National University and University of Queensland used data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Study involving nearly 7700 households and 14,000 people from 2001 to 2010.
Matthew Gray, a researcher from the ANU, said while divorcees could recover financially in terms of their income, it was harder in terms of their assets. "There are very big differences in assets between those who divorce and those who don't divorce and that gap widens.
"In terms of assets, both men and women have a very substantial negative effect and that effect persists for at least four to six years after divorce. That persists into later life, into retirement. In income terms, there is quite a substantial effect initially. Men do better in income post-divorce than women."
Six years after divorce, women's average household income was $3000 more than their pre-divorce income while men were earning $13,000 more.
Professor Gray said the research showed divorcees fare better financially if they settle down with a new partner.