Study Finds Women Suffer Financially from Divorce

Sep 29, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Divorced women have less long-term financial security than married woman, according to a study.

Demonstrating the value of prenuptial agreements and fair divorce settlements, a recently released study by a University of Connecticut economics professor tracked the economic consequences of divorce for women.

For the study, Dr. Kenneth Couch analyzed the finances of about 600 women from the time they were divorced in the 1970s, according to UConn Today.

The study found that while many newly-single women reentered the job market and saw a significant spike in personal income, over time the women were not as economically secure or well-off as married women, the source reported. Among other findings, Couch discovered Social Security benefits for a couple averaged $2,231 a month, while women who divorced and never remarried received monthly benefits of about $1,000.

Couch told UConn Today that "most people understand there are advantages to forming durable relationships and staying in them," yet divorce remains a "highly probable life cycle event."

The 2009 U.S. divorce rate was 3.4 per 1,000 people, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That same year, median income for full-time women workers was $36,278, compared to $47,127 for men, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

Given the impact of divorce on women's lifetime earnings, it makes sense for them to protect themselves by establishing prenuptial agreements to mitigate loss of income.