It’s no secret that divorce is one of the most stressful things anybody can go through, but it is made even more harrowing by the unique challenges that men and women face during the process. Despite what you may have heard about women always winning the lion’s share in a divorce, the truth is much more complicated than that. Hiring a divorce lawyer for women can help you address the biggest challenges you are likely to face once you’re out on your own.
4 Ways a Divorce Lawyer for Women Can Make a Difference
1. Preparing for Financial Loss
The biggest change that women face in the aftermath of divorce is a drastic change in income levels. If you’re used to sharing expenses with a spouse, it can be very difficult to adjust to being the sole provider. Likewise, women are far more likely to experience a drop in their own incomes after divorce, even if they were previously earning plenty of money.
A divorce lawyer for women can help you anticipate the amount of change you can expect and ensure that any agreements for child support or alimony are enough to offset the differences. This is especially important if you earn significantly less than your ex-spouse and have never been the primary breadwinner for the household.
2. Formulating a Custody Agreement
While it’s too simple to assume that all men are less involved with their children than their mothers, divorce attorneys who work with women understand that an unequal burden rests upon mothers in raising their children. From making doctor’s appointments to calling off work when the kids are sick, women take up a lot of the slack in a family when things come up. If your ex is negotiating for shared custody, you need to be sure that instances like sick days are covered in the agreement, along with any shared responsibilities for extracurricular activities, buying clothing, etc.
You will also want help covering regular living expenses that are brought on as a result of having children. For instance, finding a house or apartment with enough space is more costly with kids than on your own, so your monthly expenses will remain higher than your spouse’s if they only have the kids some of the time.
3. Keeping or Selling the Family Home
It is a common misconception that women always get the kids and the house in a divorce. The truth is that most judges want to see the kids protected from major upsets to their lives, and keeping them in their homes is a good way of doing this. However, that doesn’t mean the house always falls to the wife. In many cases, women do not make enough on their own to keep the house for themselves, and an agreement must be reached to sell the house and split the proceeds between both parties.
If you do hope to keep your family home, having a divorce attorney who knows the ropes can help you prove that you are able to afford it. You will have to go above and beyond showing that you can just make the monthly payments. You are also going to have to show that you can pay for upkeep and that keeping the house will not cause undue hardship on the rest of your budget. Even then, you will need to buy out your former spouse’s stake in the house before it can be placed solely in your name.
4. Divorcing Later In Life
Beyond the most common problems addressed above, there is also a unique set of challenges facing older women seeking a divorce. Women who are approaching their golden years are more likely to have relied partially or entirely on their spouse for support and less likely to have any retirement funds or income of their own. While this is becoming less common every year, it does pose a difficult question for courts who need to assign a number to the wife’s living expenses.
Alimony hearings require significant documentation of income and expenses to reach a fair outcome. In these cases, it is always best for women to hire an attorney who can guide them through gathering the most accurate information before negotiations begin. Women should never assume that they will be awarded alimony without just cause.
As you can see, having an attorney who works specifically with women during divorce can give you the upper hand and set you up for a more comfortable transition into your new life. Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but women are more likely to see an outsized effect on their income, responsibilities, and status even when they are believed to have won. The right attorney will guide you through the steps you need to take to protect yourself and reach a balanced agreement that will carry you forward.