Family Law Specialist Certified By The State Bar Of California

Photo of attorney Katharine Teuschler

Do women suffer greater financial hardship than men post-divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | DIVORCE - High-Asset Divorce

Many women stay in a marriage for financial stability. Even though female executives are breaking glass ceilings, the husband is the primary breadwinner in many families.

Still, no one should commit themselves to an unhappy marriage. Therefore, it’s essential to have strategies in place to prevent financial hardship after your divorce.

Addressing the disparity

Women, especially single mothers, are more likely to fall into poverty after a divorce. Divorced women aged 50 and older have a poverty rate of nearly 27%, compared to 14% for divorced men of the same age group. Several factors contribute to this disparity:

  • On average, women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. This gender pay gap means that women have less of a financial cushion to fall back on after divorce
  • Women are more likely to take career breaks or work part-time to care for children, which results in lower lifetime earnings.
  • Women are also more likely to be the primary caregivers of children after divorce, which can limit their ability to pursue higher-paying job opportunities.
  • Childcare expenses can strain finances, especially for single mothers who may not receive adequate child support.

To avoid financial hardship faced by most women post-divorce, there are several strategies you can employ to prepare yourself:

1. Educate yourself about your finances by collecting all relevant financial documents. This includes bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, property deeds and loan agreements.

2. Make a comprehensive list of all marital assets and liabilities.

3. Estimate your monthly living expenses and develop a budget. Be prepared to adjust your lifestyle to match your new financial reality. This may involve finding more affordable housing or cutting discretionary spending.

4. Build an emergency fund that covers three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

5. If you’re not currently employed, consider finding a job or pursuing career advancement opportunities to increase your earning potential.

Working with someone who can help you get the assets you are entitled to is crucial. They can also make sure child and spousal support payments are clearly defined and legally enforceable. Your goal is to secure a financial future for you and your dependents.