About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Husbands are winners all round: headline news?

More bad news for women divorcing in the UK. Not only is marriage good for men's health , divorce is good for men's wealth. The Independent and the Observer report that the incomes of ex-husbands rose by 25 per cent immediately after the split, but women saw a sharp fall in their finances, which rarely regained pre-divorce levels. Some 27 per cent of women ended up living in poverty as a result – three times the rate of men – and only 31 per cent received maintenance payments from ex-husbands for their children.

The articles are based on research carried out by Professor Stephen Jenkins, a director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research - Marital Splits & Income Changes .


suzymiller said...

During the process of creating the first ever UK divorce fair (Starting Over Show) I have spoken to many women who have ended up with very poor divorce or break-up settlements. The article is correct in saying that the key problem lies in the fact that the person who has the luxury of going out to work and doing the hours that suit them, is the one that will progress their career and income.

Even with family tax credit (god bless it) a parent with children during the week is unable to earn the same amount of money, or do the same hours (many childminders don't work in school holidays) - and it's difficult to be a good parent when you never see your children because you are trying to progress a career.

There are other reasons behind the women losing out financially in breakup - contrary to popular belief, many women just want to get the divorce over with and compromise heavily. They live in houses they will have to sell on as soon as the youngest child reaches a certain age, while their ex-spouse is able to then cash in on what has been a growing investment that they may not necessarily have contributed to by covering maintenance costs of the property, or in one case I know, even contributing to the mortgage payments.

The event I am putting on in Brighton on 15 March 2009 is designed to provide legal, financial and wellbeing advice to people going through or starting over from divorce. A collaborative, non combative approach to divorce can create a fairer settlement for both parties, and wellbeing support is essential to be able to go through the process with some dignity, with long term sustainable goals at the heart of the settlement.

Sadie Gray's article is right on the button - this is a myth that really does need busting. And women and men both need more emotional support and a wider choice of options on how to progress divorce proceedings, which is what I am aiming to provide in Brighton this Spring.


Natasha Phillips said...

Having read these articles in the news it is great to see that the reality of the law's processes are being recognised at greater speed and I am sure the internet has played a large part in that.

I hope that the law will respond and recognise the implicit pressures on mothers who elect to prioritise parenting over career choices.

Suzy Miller's fair sounds like a wonderful idea which should do very well and I wish her lots of luck.

Anonymous said...

If there was a presumption of shared care for children, Fathers that are currently battling through the courts for Shared Residence orders or increased contact with their children could begin to ease the situation for women that wished to work.

I am a father that has given up their career (or put it on hold) to try and secure shared residence of my daughter. It has so far taken me 2 years to get to my first full hearing (State funded) and I have just had an Defined Interim contact Order overturned pending the outcome of investigations into more false allegations against my ability to look after my daughter.

Since proceedings started, I gave up all rights to the family property and other assets, I live yards away from my ex partners house, our childs nursery and am a well educated experienced parent with no record/history of violence, abuse or anything else that could suggest that I am not capable of looking after our daughter. In essence if can't get shared residence in the face of a hostile mother who can ?

Since our split my ex partner has dogedly persued weakly supported allegation after allegation, had experts refute her allegations, had the family home repossed because she gave up her part time job and shows no sign of abating.

The current systems fails both men and women who wish to be persue careers and be good involved parents. With employer attitudes, existing laws, insufficient child care options it is difficult to see how things will change.