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Women come out better than men in divorce: Myth or reality?

The question of male-female differences is one that we all probably wrestle with at some time. You could analyze plays going back to the ancient Greeks and find plenty of meat on the subject. The debate still goes on today in Arkansas and elsewhere, as we noted in our post of Aug. 10.

In that item, we described the work of some researchers who say they have found that the psychological differences between men and women are significant. They say women, being more inclined to protect relationships than their personal best interests, could wind up at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a fair divorce settlement.

To be clear, the researchers are not saying that women are pushovers; only that they tend to approach the task of negotiation with a different mindset than men. Indeed, many might buy into the stereotypical view that all too often the ex-wife winds up with the better end of the stick, perhaps especially in situations where the couple falls into the high net worth category. But, like most stereotypes, it's not safe to assume it's right.

As a recent article in "The Atlantic" points out, divorce often results in the woman suffering a decline in income after divorce – sometimes of up to 20 percent. That's according to a professor at the London School of Economics. The researcher says his work also reveals that men tended to see a boost in income of more than 30 percent after divorce.

The key reason for this income gap appears to be one of roles, rather than of gender, however. The researcher says women who left the work force to stay at home with children typically see their earning potential stunted when they try to return to work.

Another factor some experts point to is the cost of divorce. If the split has to be litigated, that can raise the price of the divorce and research indicates women suffer more from the financial hit.

What seems clear is that every case is different and each person involved in any divorce needs the benefit of experienced counsel.

Source: The Atlantic.com, "The Divorce Gap," Darlena Cunna, accessed Aug. 16, 2016

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