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Is divorce equal for men and women?

Gender equality has received increased attention over recent years. Many women turn to divorce to assert their independence and escape situations where they feel their male spouse has an unfair advantage.

While things have moved on considerably from times when most women could not have dreamed of divorcing, there is still a long way to go before things are truly equal.

Women will take longer to recover from divorce than men

A 2018 study on gender inequality in divorce found that divorce is still much easier for men than women financially. Here are some of the findings:

  • The first year after divorce: An average man’s household income rose 5%, while a woman’s dropped by 40%.
  • Five years after the divorce: The household income of the average man was back to the same level as before the divorce. An average woman’s was still 25% less than when they were married.

There are many possible reasons for this financial inequality. In many marriages, the male has been the primary breadwinner while the woman sacrificed some or all of her career to raise children. Hence, she may need to retrain or start with a lower-paid entry-level job when she gains independence. After the divorce, a woman will often take a greater share of custody of the children, further limiting the hours available to earn.

What can you do about this inequality?

Changing widespread gender inequality is beyond the scope of one person. That is an ongoing battle that women worldwide are continuing to fight. In the meantime, you can get help to fight for a fair divorce deal that considers any differences in earning potential and any career sacrifices you made.