Choosing to get a divorce from your spouse is a big decision – and a feat. Now, you must divide your marital assets and separate your very lifestyle from your spouse’s. The aftermath of this separation and eventual divorce can leave many women experiencing a “gap” in their finances. What should women know about this potential issue?
First: A look at the divorce gap
According to Kiplinger, women generally see a 41% decrease in their household income after divorce. Meanwhile, men only see a 23% decrease. On top of that, the gap often widens depending on your age. Women who divorce over 50 could face a much larger decrease in income.
Why does the gap exist?
One of the main causes of this gap is the fact that, overall, women frequently still earn less than men in the workforce. Essentially, the persistence of the gender wage gap contributes to the divorce gap. It is becoming more common for women to out-earn their husbands. However, the wage gap does remain an issue for many women.
In 2020, Pew Research Center reported that women earned roughly 84% of what men did. This generally affects the divorce gap in that female spouses have:
- Less individual income
- Less overall savings
- Fewer retirement savings
A divorce requires spouses to divide their marital property, which includes significant finances and debts. This can create or increase considerable financial stress in a newly single-income household after divorce.
What can women do about this gap?
Being aware of this gap is the most important thing if you are considering divorce. After all, if you are aware of the issue, you can prepare. It is critical to:
- Understand your finances
- Seek professional financial guidance
- Create a new and reasonable budget
- Explore your rights to spousal support
One of the primary issues in divorce is to ensure that both spouses can move forward independently. Filing for spousal support can help you move forward and reduce financial stress as you grow accustomed to life after divorce.