How Can Women Increase Income after a Divorce?

Women who keep their infrastructure strong during a divorce may be able to increase income.

Are women doing better at getting their share of the financial divorce pie in the 21st century? Yes, so says a recent Pew Charitable Trust story. Part of Pew’s Economic Mobility Project (EMP), the study is encouraging for women when it comes to income levels after a divorce.

The EMP report shows income increased by 25 percent or more by 20 percent of all divorced women across the political spectrum. This compares with just 11 percent of women in the 1970s.

One way women can ensure more income equality when it comes to divorce is to hire a support team, including a reputable family law lawyer, financial planner and tax accountant. Unfortunately, the study also shows that 50 percent of spouses come out of a divorce in a worse financial situation than when they started.

What about men? Pew’s EMP study reports that the income of divorced men increases by 25 percent or more by 16 percent of men (as compared to 14% percent in the 1970s). So, while increases for men have gone up just two percentage points, the number has more than doubled for women in the same 40-year period.

How are women increasing their post-divorce incomes these days? The EMP study says women are better educated today. This has led to better paying jobs, more income equality and perhaps even a stronger financial position than their husbands. Women are also tend to be more involved in the family finances as well as their knowledge of the family’s credit, debt, retirement accounts and investments.

Another factor in the rise of women and post-divorce income is pre-nuptial agreements. More and more women are seeking the advice of a family law lawyer before getting married so they can retain pre-marriage wealth, which can include property rights.

Perhaps a pre-nuptial agreement doesn’t sound romantic right before the wedding, but the EMP study says protecting your financial future can make you more happy than dealing with the stress from a potential economic (and emotional) nightmare.

Here are some quick tips for women about divorce, the law and your finances:

Be aware. Make sure you are informed about all of your marital incomes, property, taxes and insurance. Make copies of all financial statements. Know the user names and passwords for all online banking, property and investment incomes.

Be debt savvy. Make sure you keep abreast of all debts incurred before, during and after a marriage. Debt accumulated between the time you file for divorce and the day your marriage has officially ended can get tricky. For the best results, see a family law lawyer for advice before you file for divorce.

Establish your own credit. Make sure you start to get credit in your name only. Credit is needed for important life transitions such as renting an apartment or getting an account with the electric company.

Know the law. Remember, divorce laws vary form state to state so make sure you know the differences or retain a family law attorney who specializes in your state.