The financial toll of a divorce can be extremely harsh for women based on a number of studies that distinguish the financial consequences of divorce based on gender. While men tend to prosper in the aftermath of divorce, women generally experience a significant decline in their standard of living. Although there has been a number of studies in recent decades revealing the especially harsh impact of divorce on women, a recent study by Kenneth Couch, an economics professor at UConn confirms that these lingering effects remain despite the fact more women are involved in the workforce and seeking independent careers. Dr. Couch concludes that “family structure matters a lot” in terms of the long-term economic well-being of women.
While studies since the 1970s have reached similar results, some have speculated that the economic hardships caused by divorce may have become more comparable between men and women since more women are pursuing careers and functioning as the primary breadwinner in married households. However, the recent long-term study that followed 2,000 women over a forty-year period found that divorce continues to be particularly difficult on women in terms of their financial stability and standard of living. According to the research, marriage provides a significant positive financial impact for women. He also concluded that women who divorce but develop a career independent of their former spouse typically did not match the financial benefits of remaining married.
The findings by Professor Couch are consistent with recent data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau that affirm the economic benefits of marriage for women. According to the census data, women who were involved in a divorce during the twelve month period prior to the census were more likely to need public assistance than men who had been through a divorce during the same period. On average, women also reported lower overall household income than men in the aftermath of a divorce.
Given the disproportionate economic effects of divorce on women, it is important that wives considering divorce take certain financial precautions to obtain the best foundation for future financial security when contemplating a divorce.
• Retain Legal Counsel Early: If you are considering a divorce in New Mexico, the level and duration of alimony and the property settlement in your divorce will play a critical role in determining your ability to maintain a standard of living close to that enjoyed during your marriage. Women who are represented by an experienced New Mexico Divorce Attorney are in a better position to obtain a favorable judgment on alimony and property issues. Our family law attorneys can conduct effective discovery to obtain critical financial documents and carefully analyze these documents to ensure you receive what you are entitled to during your divorce.
• Gather Financial Information: Many spouses feel compelled to move out to seek the emotional support of family or escape acrimony within the family home. This decision can limit one’s access to critical financial documents that may assist your divorce attorney in negotiating a settlement on alimony and property division. While these documents can be sought through the discovery process, it can be more efficient if you obtain as much financial data as possible when preparing for a divorce.
• Build a War Chest: If you have decided to divorce, you should talk to your attorney about the best approach to setting up bank accounts, credit, and segregating some funds that you can use to help with the costs of your divorce and to live on until alimony and/or child support orders are in place. Because there can be potential ramifications to pulling money from joint funds, you should consult with an experienced New Mexico Divorce Lawyer before raiding bank accounts.
The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.
If you have questions about alimony, property division, or other financial issues in a New Mexico marital dissolution, our experienced New Mexico Divorce Attorneys may be able to help. Jay Goodman & Associates offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 989-8117 to learn about your rights and options.