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Women, finances and divorce

North Carolina women may find themselves in an unexpected financial situation after a divorce. According to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2012, the household income for women dropped an average of 41 percent after their marriage ended, which is almost twice the income loss experienced by men. A significant reason women tend not to fare as well as men after a divorce is that women tend to earn less of an income than men. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings for women are 82 cents for every dollar men take home. The inequality in pay can be even greater when factors such as types of jobs or certain ethnic backgrounds are taken into account.

One certified divorce financial analyst asserts that traditional gender roles are a significant factor in income inequality. Women are usually saddled with the care-giving duties, whether it is for elderly parents or children. This can result in less time in the workforce and a reduced amount of lifetime earnings. The reduced working hours also result in lower Social Security benefits and lifetimes savings. The effect of traditional gender roles extends beyond women’s earnings. The management of the household finances was typically considered to a role for the husband.

Women who are going through a divorce should take stock of their current financial circumstances. This entails evaluating their income, assets and debts, in addition to their future financial objectives. They should keep in mind that transitioning to a single-income household from a two-income household can be a significant change.

Many divorcing women choose to have their family law attorneys try to negotiate a settlement agreement rather than having to go to court and have a judge make the decisions. An attorney can seek to protect a client’s future through a fair resolution of property division and alimony issues.