Women and Divorce: Higher Income, Traditional Expectations?

One of the most persistent stereotypes about millennials is that they are a fluid generation, flouting tradition and choosing their own lives and destinies. That makes it all the more surprising when a New York Times report reveals that 18-25 year old millennial men are more likely than the previous generation to want their wives to be housewives. report also found that millennial women felt guilt about emasculating their partners when they were the sole breadwinner. Meanwhile, reports predictably show that dual income households with women as the primary earner are the rise. (https://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-many-women-earn-more-than-their-husbands/)

In another reminder that traditional expectations aren’t dead, a couple of key, widely cited findings help to paint an interesting picture of women’s predicament as wives, mothers and professionals in 2017. One is the finding that a man’s employment status is the biggest predictor of divorce. (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/07/husbands-job-predicts-divorce.html) Another is that division of labor is still unequal between spouses in marriage regardless of whether women are working. (http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/09/08/the_household_chore_gap_between_men_and_women_is_slowly_shrinking.html) You could also add to this picture the U.S.’s low maternity leave, the expense of childcare, and the “Mama shaming” women still face for not measuring to the “perfect Mom” stereotype.

All this adds up to a huge amount of responsibility, angst and planning for women when a crisis like divorce hits the family. One of the most unpleasant, if potentially transformative, aspects of divorce is when parts of life that were formerly taken for granted have a value placed on them. Women may struggle with valuing their contributions, whether they are new to the feeling of financial responsibility, or whether they don’t feel like their homemaking contributions count. Unfortunately women may find it difficult to view their money as their own, so they may fail to plan or protect themselves financially.

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we offer a suite of options within our mediation services to help assist with divorces that hit complex professional and family lives. We enlist psychological and mathematical strategies, such as fair division mathematics, to help partners in a marriage to come to an optimum agreement. We can also help to craft prenuptial agreements, offer marriage mediation for couples who find themselves in challenging circumstances and we can even connect clients with our partners 3 Riverz Creative to help redesign interior spaces after divorce.

Some of the issues high-earning women may need to address during divorce can include:

  • Fine-tuned co-parenting arrangements to suit their work schedule
  • Prenuptial agreements to protect premarital property during divorce
  • Planning to ensure inheritances and other assets aren’t blended with marital assets and subject to community property laws (for community property states including California)
  • Conflicts arising from psychological issues in divorce involving gender roles and expectations
  • Domestic violence and high conflict relationships – As this Forbes article points out, it’s important to remember that domestic violence can affect anyone. It may be confusing or embarrassing for women with high achieving professional identities to recognize abuse or extreme dysfunction and learn how to handle a divorce prudently so they are protected.

We are available 7 days a week for free consultations on your divorce. Please contact us to see how we can help.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2013/04/10/divorcing-women-when-you-earn-more-than-your-husband/#59e5e43e4a78

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/opinion/sunday/do-millennial-men-want-stay-at-home-wives.html?_r=0 A Refinery 29

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/04/148488/millennial-women-are-conflicted-about-being-breadwinners