In many divorces, women are at a significant disadvantage, especially when it comes to money. In many marriages, the husband has been the main breadwinner. He often controls the purse strings, and often knows much more about where money has been spent and what assets are owned.
In contrast, the wife has often had lower earnings, and has had little to no control over the money. She may have been free to spend money as she saw fit, but she did not see the bills, pay the bills, or maintain control over bank and brokerage accounts. At divorce time, she has no idea where the money is, where is may have (improperly) gone, and may have no access to it.
Because of this imbalance of power, women are often pushed to settle their divorces quickly. They may have little to no money for attorneys, and the court may not force the husband to give her access to funds for living expenses and competent counsel. The court may award temporary maintenance, but it is not unusual for this to be in an amount that is not sufficient to maintain the lifestyle and pay attorneys and experts.
But attorneys and financial experts are necessary if the woman is to make a fully informed divorce settlement. She needs to know about the cash, real estate, retirement plans, stock options, brokerage accounts, and business interests that she may be entitled to. She needs to understand the ramifications of the financial settlement, and needs to be sure that there aren’t any missing or hidden assets during settlement negotiations.
Even women who have become executives, celebrities, or other highly compensated alternatives are at risk in divorce. The financial details of the family still need to be examined in detail, even if the wife has been the major breadwinner or is capable of fully supporting herself after divorce.