That a reduction of income follows a divorce is well documented. After a divorce, women are more likely to be impoverished than men. Those whose family income was below the national median and stay-at-home mothers are very likely to experience poverty after their divorce. Divorcing or separating mothers are more than twice as likely to be in poverty than those who remain married. According to the National Longitudinal Surveys data for 1967 and 1984, approximately 44 percent of women fell into poverty after a divorce.
The custodial parent experiences a 52 percent drop in his or her family income. Moreover, children of divorced mothers are less likely to earn incomes in the top third of the income distribution, regardless of where in the income distribution their parents are.
After a divorce, women suffer more from divorce than men. Though child support helps a woman soften the blow, it does not help as much as most think. Over 35 percent of custodial mothers receiving child support were impoverished 16-18 months after divorce, while only 10.5 percent of all noncustodial fathers (those paying child support and those not) were impoverished.