Addressing the “Wealthy Divorcee” Myth

We’ve all seen her on TV. The wealthy divorcee, wearing designer clothes and drinking champagne while she scoffs at the financial struggles of the ex-husband supporting her. And Hollywood has no shortage of her stories either. The First Wives Club. Intolerable Cruelty. The list goes on…. But research is revealing some interesting facts about this woman we all think we know. And first on the list is the fact that she probably doesn’t exist.


Statistics reveal that, despite the common misconception that women fare better after divorce than men do, the truth is far less glamorous. According to recent research conducted by Professor Stephen Jenkins, director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and chair of the Council of the International Association for Research on Income and Wealth, the reality is very different from current social expectations.


Very few divorced women are even financially stable, let alone “wealthy”


Jenkins’ research revealed that on average, while divorced men’s income increased by about a third, divorced women’s income decreased by over a fifth. As if that isn’t bad enough, it remained low for many years after the divorce. In fact, the research revealed that the average divorced man’s income rose “immediately and continuously” after separation, while their wives suffered the opposite effect after divorce.


While the differences between the genders was significant, the chasm was greater still when the divorcing couple are parents. “This is not so much a gender thing as a parent thing.” Jenkins explains in a media interview, “The key differences are not between men and women, but between fathers and mothers.”


Jenkins’ survey, entitled Marital Splits and Income Changes over the Longer Term, reveals that these often misconstrued facts are actually widely acknowledged by legal and financial professionals but not by the general public. This can result in misconceptions about divorce and mislead people into believing falsehoods about equality after the split. Our Oakland County Family Law attorneys will tell you there is nothing glamorous about divorce.


A ‘glamorous divorce’ only happens in the movies!


For many mothers, after divorce they discover that while their former husband still has a career and a solid income, they are floundering. Having given up many years in the workforce to raise children, these women are now discovering that spousal and child support, when they receive it, is not enough to live on. And without steady jobs, they struggle to make ends meet.


One of the best ways to avoid this troubling financial situation is to ensure that you have an experienced divorce attorney representing you during this difficult time. The world is rife with women who spent years struggling because they accepted less than they were owed or were bullied into taking less than they needed to survive. That doesn’t have to be your story. If you are considering divorce in Oakland County, Michigan or anywhere in Metro Detroit, call us today. We can help you. We’ve helped hundreds of clients over the past decades with their divorce cases.


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