Female ‘breadwinners’ losing out after divorce

One of the UK’s leading family law firms, Pannone, says increasing numbers of female breadwinners are left feeling angry after divorce when their less well paid husbands end up with more generous divorce settlements.

These women are left feeling aggrieved that whilst they have jobs that involved longer working hours than women in the past, their husbands haven’t offered more support and back-up at home. The result is that they feel as though they have done two ‘jobs’ and that thisisn’ttaken into account when assets are divided.

Family lawyers working for Pannone say that they’ve seen a significant increase in the number of female divorce clients who earn more than their husbands in the last four years.

This follows a national trend – one study recently carried out estimates that there are now 2.7 million households in which the woman earns the higher wage – an increase of fivefold in the space of just one generation.

When a marriage ends, a couples’ assets are divided on the basis of equality with their differing needs taken into account. It is often the case that the party with the smaller salary ends up with a larger share of the equity in the home because it is considered that they will be less likely to get a mortgage to buy a new home.

Fiona Wood, a partner in family law at Pannone, said: “Both spouses will need rehousing and if the husband’s income is lower than his wife’s, his mortgage capacity will also be lower,” she explained.

“He may therefore need more capital to enable him to obtain a suitable property.”

“However, many women still find it hard to believe that they will receive less than their husbands when they divorce, especially when they still seem to do the greater share of work around the house.”

She continued: “The traditional image of the family is that the wife and mother eitherdoesn’twork ordoesn’twork very much and is at home looking after the children.

“There are some complete reverses of that [with the husband staying at home and the wife going out to work].

“But there are a lot more where the husband is working but he might not be earning the sort of money that the wife is, perhaps without the same pressure or the hours as the wife.

“At the same time, what the wives are saying to me is ‘hedidn’treally pull his weight at home, I still had to go to work and then go home and work at home’.

“They feel quite aggrieved that they have been doing ‘two jobs’ yet they have not got any credit for it.”


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