The Chicago Family Law Blog

Economic Health Of Men & Women Differs After Divorce

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Eighty percent of custodial parents are women and custodial mothers are twice as likely to live at or below the poverty line as custodial fathers, according to a report by the Center for American Progress entitled "The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty" (PDF).

Also, the standard 50/50 splitting of assets often leaves women broke for a number of reasons, according to certified financial divorce practitioner Carol Ann Wilson. Her article entitled "How to Help Older Divorcing Women Avoid the Bag Lady Blues" appears at the Encyclopedia Britannica's web site.

She explains how even the most highly polished divorce attorneys in Chicago sometimes overlook how the husband's career assets, such as health insurance and sick pay, impact finances:

Divorced women are swelling the poverty rolls. Why? The courts are trying to split the marital property 50/50, yet they traditionally overlook one major asset of a marriage: the husband's career.

Career assets continue to generate more income for years after a divorce and are not always reflected in the alimony or child support paid to custodial mothers with limited experience working outside of the home. And employers often are reluctant to hire women who go back to school for job training later in life simply because they can't draw from previous career experience, Ms. Wilson adds.   

An article in the Guardian, while analyzing British statistics, finds a similar pattern among divorced women in the UK and also suggests that men (especially fathers) tend to get "significantly richer" after a divorce.

Meanwhile, as with their US counterparts, divorced women in the UK suffer an average 20 percent drop in income after a divorce. The article also points to data suggesting that divorced women in the UK have a poverty rate of 27 percent, three times that of their former husbands.

Related Resources:

  • Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics (FindLaw)
  • Divorce Alimony Reform: A Necessary Evil? (FindLaw Law & Daily Life Blog)
  • Directory of Chicago Family Law Attorneys (FindLaw)

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