Divorce is a life changing decision even when both individuals agree that it is the best course of action, but proceedings quickly become complicated when minor children are involved. Economic status quo is critical in order to provide a sense of stability for all parties involved, and that means child support is a primary topic for discussion. Regardless of present personal earning power and future earning potential, women must always evaluate their need to negotiate for child support.
In a March 2012 article, The Huffington Post reported that the average age a woman marries for the first time in the United States in 2012 was 26.5 years. A 2008 report by the US Census Bureau shows that if a woman has a bachelors degree or higher, she is more likely to wait until after marriage to have children (52% of women with Bachelor’s Degrees waited, and for women with post graduate degrees, the figure jumps to 82%). Even if she returns to work after the birth of her child, statistically her earning power will likely decrease in relation to her husband’s: in a report released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, women are still earning only seventy seven cents on the dollar in comparison to their male counterparts for annual, full time labor. In addition, men tend to crowd the higher paying careers, and gender pay inequality is even higher for highly skilled professions such as law, medicine, and C-level executives. With very few exceptions, men earn more than women.
Child support is not a luxury, it is a necessity
A very sobering statistic is that gender pay inequality also increases as women get older: a report by Catherine Hill, head of research at the American Association of University Women, states that among today’s graduates the gender pay gap is 20 cents per dollar one year after graduation and rises to 31 cents per dollar by the 10 year reunion. When examined over the life of a career, the pay gap for woman is potentially staggering.
Child support is critical for women post-divorce: the career ramifications of having children are more serious for women than men due to lost time at work to cope with pregnancy, labor and delivery, and early postpartum healthcare. Even taking only the minimum recommended time off for maternity leave (6 weeks in the U.S.) can push a woman off her company’s career fast track. Raising children, even with an equitable custody split, is simply harder on women from an economic standpoint than it is for men.
Child support can be the equalizer. It enables the woman to support her children in a manner that is consistent with what they experienced prior to their parents’ divorce, it mitigates the gender pay inequality that is the status quo in the U.S. by acting as a supplement for the income discrepancy women face in America, and lastly, child support helps women to gain a sense of financial security while caring for her children, post-divorce.
Present and future financial security does not have to be a casualty of divorce. Please contact me if you’d like to explore your specific needs during and after a divorce. We can work together for your well-being as well as planning for the needs of your dependent children.