If you are a woman considering divorce, have you considered hiring a divorce attorney for women? Although the concept might be completely novel to you, there are no shortage of female divorce lawyers who only work for women. As more women have attained higher levels of education in recent decades, a new generation of experienced attorneys has emerged with a single purpose: to defend women’s rights. Despite those rights being violated for decades, women attorneys are leveling the playing field.
Divorce, like many other systems in our society, tends to affect women in a disproportionately negative way. Although the media loves to focus on large settlements for women in divorces, like Jeff Bezos’ expensive separation, these cases are the rare exception. Women regularly face significant obstacles to even filing for divorce, let alone winning their fair share in court. As we’ll see, there are many reasons why hiring a female divorce attorney who only works for women is better.
Top 6 Reasons You Need a Divorce Attorney for Women
1. Judges Tend to Rule in Favor of Men
The entire legal system is stacked against women. There is roughly a 2 to 1 ratio of male to female judges, which means women already face an uphill battle in most of their court cases. Even though we believe judges are more impartial than the average person (that is their job, after all), the truth is actually quite appalling. In a fascinating study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, hundreds of judges and regular people were put to the test.
The results are startling. Both groups were given a mock case involving a sex discrimination lawsuit against a woman. What they found was that judges were actually more likely than regular citizens to rule against the female plaintiff. The judges that held more traditional views of gender roles were the worst offenders, and the majority were male. What this means is that women need legal representation that understands this disparity. A female attorney will fight with this in mind.
2. Even the Lawyers Are Biased
Like judges, most lawyers are male. While you would assume that lawyers see clients as equals and wouldn’t discriminate against women in court, there are many examples of the exact opposite happening. For instance, a recent case in Florida became a national headline when a female family court judge feuded with a male attorney who claimed that it was impossible for her to deliver an unbiased ruling since the other party was female as well. It’s impossible to even imagine a female attorney arguing with a male judge that he could not give an unbiased ruling in the trial of a man due to his gender!
What if this were to happen to you? A female attorney can help balance the scales and prevent a lawyer from fighting for a biased judge. As you can see, discrimination exists on both sides of the court. Those who rule and those who argue both show discriminatory tendencies towards women. That has a real impact on the outcomes that women receive in divorce cases.
3. Women Have Worse Economic Outcomes After Divorce
Despite the disproportionate coverage that divorce settlements in favor of women tend to receive, the harsh reality is that many women are left worse off after divorce than men are. Alimony and child support payments may not be enough to make up the actual difference in earning power of women and men. Since men tend to have more established careers with fewer gaps in employment, they tend to be able to bounce back from divorce quite quickly.
This has been widely documented in several studies. For instance, a study back in 1996 found that women saw an average 27% decline in living standards after their divorce, while men saw a 10% increase in contrast. This disparity still holds true today. A fundamental reason for this is that male legal representation doesn’t always understand the full cost of being a woman. They don’t fight for amounts that they don’t understand. A woman will.
4. Benefits for Child Custody
Custody is a curious thing in divorce cases. Most women assume custody of the children in a divorce, and most courts will grant that without asking nearly as many questions as they would if a man pushed for full custody or even a majority share. On the surface, it seems like this is the one area where women have an advantage in divorce courts. However, beneath the surface, the impact of custody may be more negative than people realize.
Children are expensive, as every parent knows. Although women do receive more child support when they assume full or majority custody, that extra amount doesn’t always cover the actual extra expense. Women get put on the hook for dozens of expenses that don’t get split, like school supplies. In addition, a woman with full custody may lose wages as working hours become more difficult to fulfill. Again, this is something that an attorney who understands women’s rights can fight to resolve.
5. Women Tend to Initiate Divorce
69% of divorces are initiated by women. However, taking this bold step is never easy. You may feel like you’re making a mistake in going through with the divorce. Guilt is a common sensation in divorce cases, and it may lead to women asking for less than they’re entitled to. That guilt is often preyed upon by the other partner’s legal team. When you initiate divorce, you’re unfairly made into a target.
This is another reason to hire a divorce attorney for women. You can feel reassured knowing that your lawyer is ready for these unwarranted accusations and will build a case that justifies your proper compensation. While it’s normal to lament the end of a relationship, your divorce cannot be driven by emotion. An attorney makes sure it follows the facts and the law.
6. You Can Miss Out on Hidden Assets
Many men have assets that they have not disclosed to their spouses. This can lead to you receiving less than your fair share of the assets after a divorce. Your spouse may even have assets that are worth more than you realize, even if you do know about them. Women-only attorneys know what to look for and how to discover hidden assets that could have a major impact on the results of your case.
Assessing assets held in common is also important. For instance, if both sides dispute the value of your house, thousands of dollars are on the line. Having an assessment from a neutral third party helps you sidestep these disputes and settle them quickly, rather than dragging out your court case further or potentially losing out on what you deserve.
Women Know Women
Divorce is never easy for anyone. However, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic or overly taxing process. When you’re represented by women who understand the struggles women go through, and who know women’s rights, your divorce can go much more smoothly. Given the vast number of disadvantages that women have at every step of the divorce process, your success will depend on other women. Non-profit women’s advocacy groups have even started raising awareness of these issues.
However, until sexism is rooted out of our society, women will still have a difficult battle to get what they are entitled to in a divorce. Until then, a divorce attorney for women is your most valuable asset.