Property & Financial
Women’s and Mother’s Rights
What you need to know:
- Women's Divorce: The Halves Are Not Equal: In 1854, the godmother of American feminists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, told the New York State assembly: "We ask for no better laws than those you have made for yourselves. We need no other protection than that which your present laws secure for you."
- A Continuing Cultural Upheaval: That cultural upheaval draws energy from two bodies of thought about the place of woman in society. One, equity feminism (sometimes called liberal or classical feminism), asserts the equality of man and women through political and legal reform, and the other, gender feminism, an ideology, argues the psychological, moral, spiritual, intellectual and biological superiority of woman.
- Uneven Economic Gains: Women Still Earn Less: Overall, women remain segregated in low paying occupations, and occupations dominated by women are low paying. In 2007, nearly half - 43 percent - of the employed women in the United States were in 20 occupational categories, many of them the so-called "pink collar" jobs that pay less than industries that are male dominated.
- Divorce Pain and Suffering: Battles: And unfortunately, despite the emancipation of women, child custody and visitation battles remain a common feature of many bitter divorces. While women generally have an advantage here, a mother cannot automatically assume she will be awarded custody of the children in contested cases.
- No Money: Passport to the Poorhouse: Most divorce survivors remember the experience the way veterans remember surviving a war. The liberalization of divorce has not made divorce painless or even easy, but liberalized divorce probably gave more women far more latitude about escaping a bad marriage. At the same time, women have more to think - and worry - about when doing it.
- The Custodial Mother: A Steep Climb: While many women suffer a decline in their standard of living after a divorce, some studies suggest that women who are employed during the marriage fare better after a divorce than mothers who stay at home. A middle-age woman who attempts to reenter the workforce after taking many years off for child rearing very often finds the market indifferent to the stale work skills she can offer.
- Alimony: At The Court's Discretion: Despite the alimony jokes ("She got the mine, I got the shaft"), spousal maintenance no longer assures the divorced woman the lifetime financial floor it did when courts considered marital misconduct in dividing the marital estate and awarding alimony.
- The Divorce Strategy: Make a New Plan: A woman ending a marriage, voluntarily or involuntarily, needs to fashion a divorce strategy that includes such factors as earnings, inflation, division of property, the amount and duration of maintenance, and, yes, a reduced standard of living. Put another way, a woman facing divorce needs to think about short-term and long-term considerations.
- What Women Need to Remember: A women married to a high-income man must consider more factors in negotiating a divorce settlement. In general, the larger the size of the marital estate, the more complicated its division and distribution becomes. Many women make mistakes, however, that are easy to avoid.
Useful Online Tools
||The Women's Rights Manual for Divorce
What you are experiencing or contemplating is probably going to be the most difficult time of your life. Separation and divorce can break anyone emotionally and financially if you let it. Your future is in your hands. This manual gives you easy access to your rights, which will provide you the needed protection for you to have a successful divorce.
Resources & Tools
TENDER YEARS DOCTRINE -- The "tender years doctrine," and what was called the “maternal preference,” presupposed that the relationship between the mother and the child was more crucial to a child's development than the relationship with the father. Since the 1970s, courts have become gender-neutral about child custody but in cases of contested custody mothers generally receive physical custody of the children.
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Women's Rights Manual for Divorce
The Relevance of Adultery and Extra-Marital Sexual Conduct in Custody and Visitation Cases