Although urban legends abound of men getting fleeced by their wives who get richer by living off of them, in truth, women often suffer economic hardship when they divorce. In fact, a recent NY university study based on National Longitudinal Survey data, reported that divorced women were more likely to declare bankruptcy than their male counterparts. Those divorced in 2004 were over 16% more likely to have declared bankruptcy. A similarly bleak finding in Britain demonstrated that divorcing mothers fared fare worse than their counterparts. In fact, while the incomes of “separating husbands” rise “immediately and continuously” in the years following a marital split, women are more likely to see a diminishing standard of living. In that study, it was noted that “The differences between the sexes are stark.”
Such inequitable financial situations have a ripple effect on the ongoing relationships between former spouses, affecting both children and woman as they attempt to move on with their lives. It is important for women to educate themselves at the start of the divorce of the issues with which they will be faced so that choices are informed, intelligent and forward thinking. The following selection was made to help flatten the learning curve.
What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody: Judges, Lawyers, and Therapists Share Winning Strategies on How to Keep the Kids, the Cash, and Your Sanity by Gayle Rosenwald Smith, J.D., and Sally Abrahms. Described by on reviewer as “an extraordinarily sensible, sensitive, and pragmatic book,” it was recommended for women.
Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well by Ashton Applewhite There is relatively little of Ashton Applewhite here and a great deal of the heroic, sometimes mundane, sometimes inspiring stories of women who have survived. Fair warning: Applewhite is unabashed in her support of divorce as the correct choice for women locked in bad marriages but recommended for women who have been living with an abusive man.
Your Pocket Divorce Guide by Linda C. Senn “This is a nice, approachable, compact handbook. You won’t find technical details here. Instead, you’ll find simple, practical guidance on the gut issues we face when we go through divorce. Less than 100 pages long, this book focuses on the esoteric (maintaining spiritual health through communing with nature) and the eminently practical (exactly what utensils you need to start over again in the kitchen). Senn is a veteran of divorce who speaks frankly of her own journey from her role as ‘Mother-and-Savior-of-Everyone’ (her words) to a person enjoying ‘the most amazingly full and rewarding life I could ever have imagined.’”
He’s History, You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After 40, by Erica Manfred. For every woman who suffers the anguish of a ruptured relationship. Having survived and surmounted the pain of her own divorce, Manfred is every reader’s ‘wise friend,’ sharing her own story and the fund of knowledge she accrued along the way so the rest of us need never feel ‘alone’ or believe we can’t survive. For we can; and we do, as Manfred teaches us, inevitably emerge the stronger for it.” —Florence Falk, Ph.D., psychotherapist, and author of On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone
Fair Share Divorce for Women, Second Edition: The Definitive Guide to Creating a Winning Solution by Kathleen Miller. This is a book about the financial fallout of divorce. It focuses on the plight of women who, despite their increased presence in the work force, often have little knowledge of their family’s finances. Miller is a financial planner who writes from her experience in working out property settlements for divorcing couples. She offers case histories and uses charts, budgets, sample financial plans, settlement agreements, and vocational reports to illustrate the economic issues that must be addressed when ending a marriage. Her book covers what to do in the days right after the partners split and how to address long-term needs like pensions and retirement planning. While acknowledging the emotional impact of the process, Miller stresses the need to be pragmatic and to begin to think through the economics of the situation the moment divorce becomes an option. Women at all stages in the divorce process and with all levels of experience with money will find this to be a methodical, objective preparation for making coherent decisions about their finances. Amazon Review
A Woman’s Guide to Healing the Heartbreak of Divorce by Rose Sweet. “Rose has ripped through the surface issues of divorce and gotten right to the tender, bruised heart of a hurting woman. She reveals not only the real reasons for the pain, anger, anxieties, and hurt women suffer from divorce, but brings the reader to a place where permanent healing can begin.”