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Gender Equality In Divorce ProceedingsGender equality has come a long way since the generation of our parents. Women’s rights continue to be an evolving platform to gain equality for women everywhere. From work place equality to individual social rights, the fight for gender equality can take many shapes and spawn many passionate debates.  And the gender roles in marriage have seen a change over the last generation as well. As women continue to receive higher education and receive the same jobs as men, their role in relationships and marriages have inevitably led to a subtle change in the divorce process.

Not Long Ago, in a Society Not Far Away

It was not too long ago that the divorce court laws were so one-sided it was laughable; well, actually, it’s not laughable. But there was a time not too long ago when equitable distribution of property and assets incurred during the marriage was non-existent. Women were at a severe disadvantage when it came to divorce. This led to many social and psychological affects on marriage. People phrase the more modern laws as being “lax,” but what they are is equal. These laws have not lead more marriages to divorce, but have allowed women who are unhappy in their current state to get out of it, and get the support they deserve. Now with equality increasing by leaps and bounds since the 1940’s and 50’s, we are seeing evident change in the gender roles within the divorce proceedings.

Divorce Courts Mirror Reality

In today’s society, we are seeing a turn in the tables within the divorce proceedings. Evidence of women paying alimony, and child support to their former husbands has been seen on more consistent basis. Studies and interviews with divorce lawyers have yielded specific statistics to prove this turning point in the traditional gender roles that we have become accustomed to when it comes to the divorce process. In a study done by the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, 56% have noted an increase in mothers paying child support in the last three years, while 47% have observed a hike in the number of women paying alimony to former husbands. Just as men before them, it has been observed that women share the same emotional sentiment about having to pay alimony to their former spouse. And although there was an initial increase in the number of divorces throughout the 70’s as laws began to allow both women and men to pursue , we have seen the leveling off and even a slight decrease in the total divorce numbers, proving that even though the roles are changed, the amount of divorces have not.

Statistics are often taken out of context to make a point, but what these numbers show is a balancing act rather than a trend. Women have the same right to initiate and state their unhappiness as men, and if everything is fair and equal as far as the law and marriage is concerned, then the gender of the bread winner shouldn’t be a big deal. As women increasingly share the same jobs, pay, and bread winner status as men, this trend will continue to a certain threshold and level out. One can only hope that equality for all will continue on the same path.

One thought on “Gender Equality In Divorce Proceedings

  1. John Angelucci

    The divorce laws are not equal. Period. Regardless- the laws are all against the non-custodial parent. Suspension of licenses- driving-professional-recreational are one sided and only harmful to the parent and children. Incarceration- which the custodial parent need never fear – can happen to the non-custodial parent regardless of fault or reason. The family court needs to stop punishing the non-custodial parent- which are overwhelmingly men- and the courts need to be reasonable! The child support allocation- income sharing method is stealing! Plain and simple.
    Oh- by the way- i read a family court case in 1980 that said “things are different and equal now”- in 1998 the judge said to me, “things are different and equal now”- and this article perpetuates the same lie!


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