Divorce -- Economic Effects on Divorced People




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NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

See also-
Social and Economic Costs of Divorce
Mental and Physical Health Effects on Divorced People
Effects on Black Community


Economic Effects (see also page on children of divorce and poverty)
Economic effects of no-fault on women and children (Parkman)
"Americans might be losing confidence in marriage" because they can't afford it
Statistics on Bankruptcy and Divorce
Bill establishing committee to study divorce (passed; includes provocative statistics)
Fact sheet on how Divorce Hurts Women, Men, and Kids x
Women may suffer financially from high divorce rate
How much does a divorce cost for ordinary people?
Australian Parliamentary Report on divorce rates, costs, and numbers of children affected x
Australian divorce, illegitimacy and non-marriage, and the economic effects

"A 30-year-old woman who wants a family is getting close to the point where she has to choose the best of her available suitors. A 30-year-old man can always choose to wait another five or 10 years till someone better comes along. In general, the longer you spend searching for something--be it a car, a house, or a life partner--the happier you're going to be with the one you end up with. So--again, with myriad exceptions--a woman's optimal strategy is to settle for an imperfect mate and then try to change him. A man's optimal strategy is to search until he finds someone close to perfect. It's therefore no surprise that women, more often than men, should end up regretting their choices.

From:"Why Men Pay to Stay Married and Women Pay to Get Divorced."
By: Steven E. Landsburg
Slate.com, Posted Friday, Dec. 1, 2000, at 5:30 PM ET

Divorce leaves couples worse off: report
The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
Divorce leaves both partners in a marriage financially worse off, but women
are likely to experience the biggest fall in disposable income, according to a new ...

May divorce be with you - but don't be surprised when it sends you ...
(Sydney Morning Herald - New South Wales,Australia By Stephanie Peatling.)

"In Utah, divorce and its financial stresses account for 75 percent to 80 percent of the people on welfare rolls. And with a 1994 divorce rate of 4.7 per 1,000 - slightly higher than the national average - [Gov.] Leavitt notes that a huge number of abuse cases arise from dysfunctional families "
-- From "Utah's Unique Take on How to Strengthen Marriages" by Katharine Biele in The Christian Science Monitor 9/21/98

"Weitzman found that the standard of living for divorced women and their children declined ... . Other studies, while disputing Weitzman's number as too large, have found similar declines. One such study, conducted by Saul Hoffman and Greg Duncan, measured a decline of 30 percent for divorced women during the first year after divorce."
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing Saul D. Hoffman and Greg J. Duncan, "What are the Economic Consequences of Divorce?" Demography, November 1988, p. 641-645. Cited in Allen Parkman, "No-fault Divorce and the Family: The New Negative-Sum Game," The Family in America, February 1993, p. 4.

"Ten years after divorce, 10 percent of middle-class couples are better off."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 146, citing Wallerstein and Blakeslee, Second Chances," 10. page 146

"Ten percent of the nation's families are headed only by a woman, but 40 percent of the families classified as poor have female heads."
"The 51 Percent Minority Group," In Robin Morgan (ed.), Sisterhood Is Powerful (New York: Vintage Books, 1970), p.39.Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation.

"Single women are 5 times more likely to be poor than their married sisters."
Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1992 (Washington, DC.: US. Government Printing Office), Table 719. Cited on page31 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

"Single mothers are nine times more likely to live in deep poverty than the married family, with incomes less than half of the official poverty line."
David J. Eggebeen and Daniel T. Lichter, "Race, Family Structure, and Changing Poverty Among American Children," American Sociological Review 56 (December 1991), 807. Cited on page31 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

"Four times as many divorced women with children fell under the poverty line [as did] married women with children."
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1993, p. 385.

"A study shows that a divorce increases the father's odds of winding up in a low occupational stratum, and has decreased a family's ability to pass advantages on to [its] children."
Timothy J. Biblarz and Adrian E. Raftery, "The Effects of Family Disruption on Social Mobility," American Sociological Review 58 (1993): 97-109. Cited on page44 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

"Daughters who divorce require far more financial aid from their aging parents than do their married sisters."
Glenna Spitze, "Adult Children's Divorce and Intergenerational Relationships," Journal of Marriage and the Family (May 1994): 279ff. Cited on page 44 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

Janet Wilmoth and Gregor Koso, "Does Marital History Matter? Marital Status and Wealth Outcomes Among Preretirement Adults," Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (2002): 254-268

COVER STORY: Golden years bleak for divorcees
Many retire into poverty, but it doesn't have to be that way
Sandra Block
08/08/2000
USA Today
According to federal statistics, 22% of divorced female retirees live in poverty vs. 18% of widows and 20% of women who never married. ... Poorly constructed divorce settlements and short-term thinking -- trying to hang onto a dream home that took two incomes to support, for instance -- can cripple women's finances. ... Too often, they give up a portion of their ex-husband's pension or other retirement savings, such as a 401(k) plan, in exchange for the house or other immediately accessible assets. It's a choice that can cost them a secure retirement. ... According to the Social Security Administration, the average retired woman receives just $8,376 a year in Social Security benefits. Many divorced women earn much less. [ From the Smart Marriages Archive]

"No-fault divorce not only made many divorced women worse off, it may also have made many married women worse off." ... "Under fault-based divorce, the husband who wanted a divorce had to negotiate with the wife; under no-fault the wife who wants the children has to negotiate with the husband. In both cases, the party with negotiating power is likely to receive a settlement more in line with his or her preferences."
Allen Parkman, "No-fault Divorce and the Family: The New Negative-Sum Game," The Family in America, February 1993, p. 4. Cited in Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum.

"Many women have either delayed marriage, or have married, but continued working to maintain their economic status should the marriage end. Elizabeth Peters found that living in a no-fault divorce state increased the likelihood that a married woman would be working outside the home, many against their greater desire to spend more time at home with their families."
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing H. Elizabeth Peters, "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, June 1986, p. 449. Cited in Allen Parkman, "No-fault Divorce and the Family: The New Negative-Sum Game," The Family in America, February 1993, p. 4.

Fawson, Bosworth, Davidson, "More Than Money: The Influence of Family
Structure on Prosperity and Educational Attainment", 2005 Sutherland J.L.&
Pub. Pol'y L24, at http://www.sjlpp.org/documents/fawson.pdf

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