Are Fewer Women Filing for Divorce for Financial Reasons?

Are Fewer Women Filing for Divorce for Financial Reasons?

By: M. Scott Gordon

Is the gender pay gap having an effect on the rate at which women disproportionately file for divorce from men? Do women in the Chicago area still really earn less than men for the same (or similar) work, and is that having an effect on their ability to imagine themselves shifting into a single financial lifestyle? A recent article in the Daily Mail actually gets at a completely opposite reason that fewer women are filing for divorce. It suggests that fewer women are considering divorce “as they fear losing their own cash in the wake of a divorce from a less well-off husband.” In other words, women are gradually becoming the primary earners in their households, and they have concerns that divorce could have a harmful impact on their financial profiles.

Professional Women Are Reluctant to File for Divorce, Study Says

According to the article, “fast-rising numbers of successful professional and business women are increasingly reluctant to hand over any of their earnings or assets” due to divorcing a husband who has been less financially successful. Does this represent a shift in the way we think about the links among women, divorce, and finances? The study indicates that “the growing success of women in careers” has indeed led to a change. To be sure, more professional women are making spousal maintenance payments in the U.S. and the U.K., which represents a reverse from the trend of the early 2000s and in the decades prior. During those previous decades, it was typically women who were awarded spousal maintenance after working lower-paying jobs than their husbands or after spending a number of years as stay-at-home mothers.

Reluctant to engage with the model of spousal maintenance, the study suggests, many women have considered filing for divorce ultimately have been “more willing to try to overcome issues within their marriages rather than filing to end them.” But is this really an accurate representation of women everywhere? Have women throughout the U.S. and the U.K., and in the Chicago area more specifically, actually been able to overcome the gender pay gap and to become breadwinners in their families?

Many Women Still Have Difficulty Recovering Financially from Divorce

While the study we discussed above may be accurate for women in certain professions and in specific socioeconomic groups, it seems unlikely that it is true for all women. To be sure, an article in The Atlantic reported relatively recently about women who have been financially devastated by divorce.

For instance, many women still decide to leave their jobs in order to stay at home and raise children, putting them in a precarious position financially in the event of divorce. And others, still, who have maintained their jobs throughout the marriage find that they nonetheless earn significantly less than their husbands and struggle immensely after a divorce is finalized.

Reach Out to a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about the financial aspects of divorce, a Chicago area divorce lawyer can speak with you today. Our firm has years of experience assisting clients with divorces, and one of our advocates can answer your questions. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about how we can help with your case.