Essay Marriage and Divorce - Women and the High Cost of Divorce

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Women and the High Cost of Divorce

Divorce is commonly recognized as a major problem in our society. Every year there are more divorces in our country and many studies have been dedicated to finding out why. Much media attention has been paid to the court proceedings or the causes leading up to the divorce, but once the matter has lost public appeal, all coverage is dropped. Because of this, there is much that the average citizen does not know about the short-term and long-term effects of divorce. This paper examines the economic effects on all the parties involved and the discrimination in the process of divorce. While divorce was once a relatively rare event, and one to which negative stereotype was
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The increasing number of divorces caused by these factors led to less stereotyping of divorcees, which also led to more divorce. Finally, greater acceptance of divorce prompted law changes in the 60s and 70s making it easier for couples to obtain a legal divorce. These snowballing factors have led us to the current situation. Although it is true that it is much easier for women to find employment now than in the past, and that this increased opportunity has facilitated self-sufficiency in some cases, it is also true that most women suffer a great financial blow immediately following divorce. In fact, “divorce has become so common, and its economic effects on women are so severe, that it is now considered a major cause of poverty in the United States (Peterson, 1989).” Even if a divorced woman is able to find a job, it is unlikely that she will be able to maintain the same standard of living she is used to even if she were to have qualifications similar to the man she just divorced. This is reflected in the fact that the national average earnings gap between men and women currently stands around 35%. Since the 1970s the no-fault divorce statute has been in effect in California. The change from the fault-based system to the current no-fault system was aimed at reducing the “antagonistic nature of divorce” by eliminating the need for grounds of divorce. It strove to base financial

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