Family structures have changed drastically over the last several decades. In the past, men were more likely to be the sole or primary income earners for families, and women were more likely to be homemakers. However, this is no longer the case in the majority of American families. Women are just as likely as men to have full-time jobs, and in many families, both spouses share equally in earning income and managing household responsibilities.
Financial Problems During and After Divorce
However, despite these changes, many women continue to face disadvantages during divorce. Certain women are particularly likely to face financial difficulties, such as those who have remained home to care for children, those who earn less than their spouses, or those who have been victims of abuse.
Regardless of your individual situation, it is important to understand the best ways to mitigate the financial risks of divorce while ensuring that your rights will be protected in decisions about property division and other issues. This can ensure that you will be able to move on successfully and build a new life for yourself after ending your marriage.
Addressing the Gender Pay Gap
Despite increased awareness of the inequalities that women often face in the workforce, many women continue to make less than their male counterparts, even when they are doing the same jobs. This can affect women’s ability to support themselves after getting divorced, and it can lead to inequitable financial outcomes, even if a divorce settlement seems to be fair.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done on the individual level to change policies regarding pay for women throughout the United States. While women cannot force employers to pay them more, they can advocate for themselves in the workplace, and if necessary, they may seek new employment that provides pay that matches their skills and experience.
You can also protect yourself by planning ahead for the loss of income you might experience after your divorce. This may include paying off as much debt as possible using shared family income, which can help limit your expenses following divorce. you may also seek out opportunities that could increase your income without a lot of time commitment (i.e. selling crafts, dog-walking, house cleaning, etc.). With the proper legal representation during the divorce process, you can ensure that every financial aspect of your case will be carefully considered, and you can work to negotiate settlements that will protect your financial interests.
When Women Are Left Out of the Loop
In some cases, women may face disadvantages due to not being involved in managing family finances. When husbands are primarily responsible for managing income, debts, and assets, wives may be unaware of the amount of income that is being earned, the expenses that are being paid, and the value of different types of property.
Husbands may have more involvement in managing retirement accounts and other assets that may be easy to hide during the divorce process. This lack of knowledge can put women at a financial disadvantage as they work to address the division of marital property and other issues.
Thankfully, these issues can be mitigated with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer. A lawyer can help you gain a full understanding of the extent of your marital assets, and if necessary, they can work with financial experts to discover any hidden assets and find the information needed to obtain a clear picture of your family’s financial situation. By fully considering all issues related to your property and finances, you can make the right decisions that will benefit you as you end your marriage.
Failure to Consider Issues Related to Financial Support and Property Ownership
Women may sometimes struggle financially after getting divorced due to a failure to fully understand how the decisions they have made will affect them in the future. In many cases, women will be able to have primary custody of the children they share with their spouses, and this will ensure that they will receive child support. If they earn a significantly lower income than their spouse or if they have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time while they were married, they may also receive spousal support (also known as spousal maintenance or alimony).
However, women may sometimes overestimate the amount of support they will receive, and these amounts may not be sufficient to fully meet the needs of themselves and their children. This can be especially true when a woman wishes to maintain ownership of the family home. The costs of home ownership can be significant, and they will include ongoing mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance.
Underestimating these expenses and relying on financial support from an ex-spouse that may not fully cover ongoing costs may lead to financial difficulties in the future.
Fortunately, you can avoid these issues by creating a workable post-divorce budget and finding affordable living arrangements that will allow ongoing expenses to be paid while also saving money and providing for the needs of you and your children.
Get Legal Help With Divorce-Related Financial Issues
The best thing that women can do to protect themselves financially during the divorce process is to secure representation from a qualified divorce lawyer. With the help of an attorney, you can make sure you fully understand your financial situation, and you can make decisions that will benefit you and your children as you move on to the next stage of your life.