Financial Disadvantages for Women after Divorce
It has been asserted that many divorced women face more financial difficulties than men. Some scholars and feminist have advanced several reasons to support that contention. Many divorced women experience some difficulties in getting employment, or remain trapped in low wage jobs, and could end up doing two jobs in order to survive. While women experience a decline in their financial status after a divorce, it is evident that there is more to financial well-being than just financial income. Most women who experience financial decline are likely to feel poor or face some form of financial difficulty. The financial effect of divorce is manifested in the individual’s behavior when the relationship comes to an end. Often, women are making some lifestyle changes in order to supplement and secure their incomes after a divorce. Some may decide to work long hours or take a second job after divorce. Those who may not have had jobs before the divorce are likely to get one.
Divorce is a serious emotional and economic problem for many divorced families. The economic consequences continue to be a problem especially in regard to the mother and her children. Feminists have advanced some theories and proposals to change the legal procedures that would benefits women who are involved in divorce. However, women remain disadvantaged when they divorce, and they face many hardships. The apparent disconnect between the feminist contributions and what women experience when they divorce raises some question in regard to the feminist role to divorce. In has been noted by some scholars, that the contention that divorced women and sometimes their dependent face serious financial difficulties is no longer an issue of controversy. Many feminist has done enough to expose and establish that women living standards decline precipitously at divorce. This essay explores the financial difficulties faced by divorced women and their dependent.
Exposing the Problem
It has been asserted that many divorced women face more financial difficulties than men. Some scholars and feminist have advanced several reasons to support that contention. Many divorced women experience some difficulties in getting employment, or remain trapped in low wage jobs, and could end up doing two jobs in order to survive. The economic problems have far-reaching effects on the physical and psychological well-being of divorced women and that of their dependents (Andress & Hummelsheim, 2009).
The persistent discrimination against working women in their workplace helps in understanding the financial vulnerability of women at divorce. However, other factors may contribute the financial vulnerability of the divorced women. For instance, when women get married they become financially dependent on the man they marry (de Vaus, et al. 2007). At divorce, the women have no access to their husbands’ savings or earnings, and many women cannot afford adequate legal representation that would allow them to get some financial support from the divorced husband (Trivedi et al. 2009). In some instances, a woman may afford to hire an attorney, but her husband may use the financial resource to employ adversarial tactics in order to escalate the cost of the divorce, consequently, prolonging the resolution, and leaving the woman financially drained. It is possible that the funds that the woman has may not be adequate to engage the necessary experts, or fund the conduct of formal discovery, without which the case can suffer (Andress & Hummelsheim, 2009). Often than not the attorneys encourage women to accept poor settlement when they realize that the woman does not have enough money to see the case through. They have been many incidences where the woman’s lawyer abandons the case mid-way. Many wives are also vulnerable to husbands’ threats to institute custody proceedings in the event she does not accept the low financial proposal (de Vaus, et al., 2007).
Feminist Work on Divorce
Feminist groups have made attempts to correct the many issues woman face at divorce. Many recognize the ideology advocated by liberal feminists of formal equality; however, the concept disadvantages the divorcing wives in custody and financial disputes (Thistle, 2006). They; however, prefer the feminism that champions the value the wives provides and accepts the dependency that is typically derived from the caretaking and the marginal workforce participation (Trivedi et al. 2009). Thus, they advocate substantive instead of formal equality for the divorcing wives. Another body of feminist has advocated the dissolution of the perceptual barriers associated with the family and the market. The barrier devalues the contribution of the women in housekeeping while denying the economic partnership aspect that obtains in marriage (Trivedi et al. 2009).
Social Effects of Divorce
Divorce affects the well-being of men and women in different ways. For instance, men most likely have a better income after divorce, which predicates low levels of distress. On the other hand, women are most likely to carry the burden of the custody of children (de Vaus, et al., 2007). Some feminists have also argued that women tend to invest more on the family while taking bigger responsibility in the marriage; consequently, they are likely to see the divorce as a loss.
Divorce has been rated as one of the events in a woman’s life that is most stressful and carries the greatest impact on the life outcomes of those who experience it. Empirical data show that the divorce is associated with several social problems (Thistle, 2006). Divorcees have small social networks, thus, missing out on social support. They are also likely to experience psychological and physical ill-health, outcomes that are likely to acerbate their financial hardships. Some scholars have observed that despite accessing gainful employment, there is the expectation of women to fulfill their domestic chores. It implies that gainful employment does not mean decreased domestic obligations (de Vaus, et al., 2007). The domestic obligations have led to the development of a competing view that advance the argument of role overload. Those who advance the role overload perspective argue that employment is injurious on women’s psychological health because it demands as much energy, time, and concentration just as much as the domestic tasks. It, therefore, becomes particularly difficult for divorced women with children (Thistle, 2006).
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Figure 1: Annual divorce rates for some English-speaking countries (de Vaus et al., 2007).
How Women Protect Themselves after Divorce
The financial effect of divorce is manifested in the individual’s behavior when the relationship comes to an end. Often, women make some lifestyle changes in order to supplement and secure their incomes after a divorce. Some may decide to work long hours or take a second job after a divorce (Grana, 2010). Those who may not have had jobs before the divorce are likely to get one. Women also look for a short time fix on the financial matters in order to make ends meet such as dipping on their savings or relying on their credit cards (Jean, n. d.). Women who have divorced are also protecting themselves by taking life insurance even if they did not have a life cover before the separation. Other divorcees are likely to make arrangement for a pension now that they will not rely on the husband’s pension (Grana, 2010). Most women normally do not have pension plans since they expect that their husbands’ pension would cater for their retirement. It can also be noted that the law has changed in regard to divorce and pension. The divorce courts expected to consider financial issues within the divorce agreement including pension provisions.
- Quote paper
- Caroline Mutuku (Author), 2018, Financial Disadvantages for Women after Divorce, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/428508