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How Does Divorce Affect Women?

Divorce is a life-changing event that affects both men and women, but studies have shown that women often experience more negative effects both financially and emotionally. For many women, divorce can lead to financial instability, loss of social support, and a decline in their mental health. As a family law firm that often represents women going through divorce, we understand the importance of recognizing and addressing the unique effects that divorce can have on female clients.

Higher Pre-Stress Divorce Levels

According to one Gallup poll that uses random data samples from more than 131,000 American adults, women typically had higher levels of stress in the days leading up to a divorce. About 51% of separated or divorced women reported higher stress levels before the separation, whereas only about 42% of men said the same thing.

Leading up to a divorce, women often experience more stress than men due to a variety of factors. One of the main reasons is that women tend to be responsible for the majority of caregiving responsibilities, such as taking care of children and managing the household. The idea of splitting time and resources between two households can add an extra layer of stress to an already demanding role. Additionally, women may also feel a greater sense of loss when it comes to divorce as they may have invested more time and energy into the relationship and the family unit. Financial concerns can also add to the stress levels of women, as they may be more likely to experience financial instability following a divorce.

Unsafe Drug Use Caused by Divorce

The same Gallup poll found that roughly 33% of divorced women had turned to drugs – either prescription, recreational, or illegal – to relax after a divorce when they previously had not used a drug for that purpose. Only 25% of divorced men said that they had started drug use after divorce for that reason. In this way, a divorce can be more physically and mentally dangerous for women than it is for men, which does not even bring to light the physical risks of constant stress.

Financial Impact on Divorced Women

Research has consistently shown that women tend to suffer more financially after a divorce than men.

Reasons why women can suffer a larger financial impact than their male spouses after a divorce can include:

  1. Despite modern advancements in employment equality, women are more likely to take time off work or reduce their working hours to take care of children, which can impact their earning potential over the long term. Additionally, women are more likely to work in jobs that offer lower pay and fewer opportunities for advancement.
  2. During divorce proceedings, women are also less likely to have access to financial resources and assets such as property, savings, and investments. This can leave them in a vulnerable position, particularly if they have been out of the workforce for a while. Even if child support and alimony payments are ordered, they may not be enough to bridge the financial gap left by the divorce.
  3. The gender wage gap also plays a role in the long-term financial impact of divorce on women. In many cases, women who have taken time away from the workforce to raise children may struggle to re-enter the job market due to a lack of experience or outdated skills. Even if they can find employment, they may find that their earnings are significantly lower than they were before the divorce.

Same-Sex Divorce Upends Some Expectations

The study of gender differences in divorce is an important area of research, but it has become more complex in recent years due to the increase in same-sex marriages. Historically, divorce research focused on heterosexual couples, which often meant that gender differences were seen as synonymous with differences between men and women. However, the rise in same-sex marriages has highlighted the limitations of this approach.

As same-sex couples tend to have more egalitarian relationships and gender roles are less defined, gender may not be as significant a factor in divorce among same-sex couples as it is for different-sex couples. Researchers need to be cognizant of these differences and adapt their methods and theories accordingly. The study of same-sex divorce and gender differences within this context is still in its early stages, but with more same-sex couples getting married, there is a growing need for research on this topic. By better understanding the unique dynamics of same-sex divorce, we can provide better support and resources to all couples going through this difficult experience.

Hire a Divorce Attorney to Alleviate Some Stress

A divorce attorney can be an invaluable resource for women going through a divorce, particularly when they are experiencing greater hardships than their husbands. A lawyer can help ensure that a woman’s financial interests are protected throughout the divorce process by negotiating child support, alimony, and the distribution of marital assets. Furthermore, an attorney can provide access to a network of professionals who can help women through the various emotional and practical challenges of divorce, such as mental health professionals and financial advisors. By taking a comprehensive approach, a divorce attorney can help women feel more confident and empowered during their divorce, and ultimately help them move on with their lives more successfully.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. in Chicago proudly offers comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel to divorcing couples. Thanks to our extensive practice history, we are well-equipped to guide you through the most difficult of divorces, including when everything seems tipped in favor of your soon-to-be ex-husband. For more information about our legal counsel, please call or contact us online now.


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