Divorces can be messy – but more than that, a divorce can be deeply personal and emotional. All too often, women are shortchanged during divorce proceedings because their interests are overlooked by judges or lawyers who do not understand a woman’s needs during a divorce. These are some of the biggest reasons why hiring a divorce attorney for women can help you settle your divorce more fairly and quickly.
How a Divorce Attorney for Women Understands You Better—and Why That Matters
Divorce is a life-altering, incredibly stressful event that not only signifies the end of a relationship but also begins many legal changes in a woman’s economic and social standings. Regardless of whether your divorce outlook will be fraught with fights over property or custody of children, it’s important for you to hire legal representatives who can empathize with your needs.
A Brief History of Divorce
Divorce has long been associated with women’s rights. During the women’s suffrage movement, divorce was a highly debated topic, particularly the issue of whether greater freedoms for divorce should be allowed. All the way up until 1969, most women who sued for divorce were only successful when one spouse was at fault for “extreme cruelty” or proven adultery. By 1969, new laws were signed across the nation that allowed for “no-fault” divorce, and women had much more success filing for divorce to escape unhappy or abusive marriages.
As a point of fact, women throughout history have either been legally trapped by marriage or have been unable to leave a marriage due to fewer rights as an unmarried woman, obligations to children, or lack of financial independence. As the rise of feminism gave way to legal changes for women, so too did the rise of divorce rates.
Why Women Divorce
Modern women now enjoy more freedom to dissolve a marriage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean filing for divorce is an easy decision to make. Many women struggle to reach the point of divorce for many of the same reasons as before, such as children or financial insecurity. Other women are suffering a cycle of abuse with domestic violence and struggle to break free from an abusive spouse. Women seek divorce for many reasons, but the general motivation is to improve their happiness or wellbeing.
Challenges Associated With Divorce
When women do come to the conclusion that divorce is in their best interest, it’s important that they find legal representation that is prepared to advocate for them. A divorce attorney for women will understand the nuance of the challenges women face during divorce proceedings, as well as how emotional the entire process can be. Some specific challenges associated with divorce include:
- Child custody
- Property division
- Alimony or spousal support
Several years ago, most women were awarded custody of children by rote, but in a modern divorce, child custody issues are more complicated. It’s now recognized that either parent can be a good caregiver for a child, so determining child custody comes down to evidence and negotiations. In general, child custody is decided in the best interests of the child, particularly in terms of financial stability, housing stability, and emotional support.
In Ohio, child custody is determined by a judge who will assess how well each parent can contribute to the needs of the child. Evidence such as income, the child’s preferences, and any history of abuse will be used to decide which parent will have primary custodianship of the child. This aspect of your divorce case will also determine the amount of financial support that should be allocated for each child from the non-custodial parent.
Property division plays a large role in divorces. In Ohio, both spouses are entitled to equitable shares of marital property or property that was obtained during the marriage. Specifically, equitable shares are determined by fairness rather than an equal 50/50 split of property. Contributions toward the marriage and the needs of each spouse will be used to determine the distribution of any shared property.
For property division, each spouse is able to keep respective property, which is any property that was owned before the marriage, specific gifts given to a single spouse, or inheritance from family members. Shared property requires negotiation to determine which spouse will get a specific portion of the property. Sometimes, the best way to conclude property division is with divorce mediation.
Your specific divorce situation may make you entitled to spousal support, particularly if your spouse has a higher income than you. It’s common for the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony for a set amount of years. For women who are filing for divorce, it’s important their legal team recognizes the challenge of securing adequate spousal support. Women may be able to more easily secure fair spousal support if there is evidence that career opportunities were sacrificed for the sake of the marriage or childcare.
To determine spousal support, each spouse will need to complete accurate financial disclosures. The more income sources each spouse has, the more complicated the calculation for spousal support will be. Additionally, child support payments and spousal support payments often share similar calculations, particularly when the spouse receiving spousal support is also the primary custodian of any children from the marriage. Your legal counsel will give you the best advice so your alimony agreement will be fair.
How to Find a Good Divorce Attorney for Women
Finding a good legal team for your divorce means taking the time to assess all of your options. Many women prefer to hire female attorneys, particularly when children are involved in a divorce case. Some just want the assurance that comes with female lawyers who are on their side in the courtroom, and some women who have survived domestic violence may feel more comfortable with a female lawyer.
That said, there are many men who specialize in divorce for women and who are also committed to advocating for a woman’s interests during divorce proceedings. This means that the best way to find a divorce lawyer is to research the firm to understand whether or not they specialize in divorce for women. You can also ask a potential lawyer to review your case and use your best judgment to assess their evaluation.
Can Women Win Divorce Cases?
There is sometimes a narrative that women can’t win fair divorce settlements, but the fact of the matter is that women can reach fair divorce settlements when legal counsel uses the right tactics during the case. For example, establishing solid evidence and building a narrative for your divorce may help for cases that are highly contested by either party. Lawyers may also recommend mediation before cases can graduate to the court system.
Filing for divorce is easier to do now than it was for women in the 20th century, but reaching a fair and reasonable divorce conclusion may still be difficult. Women may find more success when they hire a divorce attorney for women, who will understand the challenges women filing for divorce may face, such as complications with child custody or property division. For more information about hiring a divorce attorney for women, please contact Woodford Sathappan McGee in Columbus, OH today. Our dedication to representing women will ensure that your case is handled with individualized and empathetic care.