Divorce is a big deal in the US, with 40% of married couples divorcing at least once.
Women are more likely to get divorced than men and often experience oppression.
Patriarchy, legal system biases, emotional manipulation, and unequal financial power contribute to women’s oppression.
Knowing your rights and seeking professional help can improve divorce outcomes for women.
Self-care is essential to cope with stress during and after divorce proceedings.
Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most challenging processes that a person can go through. Even with the best intentions, the emotional and financial turmoil can often become insurmountable. Unfortunately, women are disproportionately affected by divorce. It’s not uncommon for women to experience oppression throughout the process. Here’s what you need to know about divorce in the U.S., reasons why women feel oppressed when it happens, and what to do if you’re undergoing divorce.
Divorce in The U.S.
Divorce in the U.S. is a big deal for most people. It’s estimated that 40% of the married population in the United States has been divorced at least once. Additionally, women are more likely to get divorced than men. It’s estimated that about two-thirds of divorces involve women.
Why Women Feel Oppressed During Divorce
There are a variety of reasons why many women feel oppressed during divorce proceedings. Here are some of those reasons:
Even in modern times, the U.S. still lives in a patriarchal society. This means that men still hold most of the power, and women often find themselves on the receiving end of oppression. In terms of divorce, patriarchal practices can put women at a disadvantage before, during, and after proceedings. For instance, in many cases, men tend to earn more than women. If the woman depended on the man’s income, this could lead to financial insecurity, making the divorce process even more daunting.
Legal System Biases
At times, the legal system itself can be biased against women. For example, some judges may have outdated views, presupposing the mother should always take primary custody of the children. This is hardly ever the case, and each situation should be evaluated based on the children’s best interests.
It is common for men, especially perpetrators of emotional or physical abuse, to manipulate their partners into feeling guilty about initiating the divorce. This manipulation is calculated and typically focuses on the woman’s alleged failures and flaws rather than the reasons why the relationship failed. This emotional manipulation can often result in women accepting unfavorable divorce settlements.
In a marriage, women tend to earn less than men, and it’s not unusual for men to have control over all accounts. In situations where this is the case, women are left with less power and may be unable to afford suitable legal representation. This situation often leads to divorce settlements perpetuating economic inequality, leaving women financially vulnerable.
The “Ideal” Woman
Women are often held to an impossible and outdated standard of femininity, which can make divorce an incredibly trying experience. Divorcees are often considered “damaged goods,” which can result in feelings of social isolation. In some cases, this standard of the “ideal” woman can also impact the divorce settlement. For instance, working women often feel guilty for leaving their children behind, which can lead to them accepting unfair divorce settlements to try and make amends.
What to Do When Going Through Divorce
Thankfully, there are various ways you can deal with divorce. Here are four ways:
Know a Lawyer
A legal professional can help you if you’re in a dire spot. Experienced family attorneys can provide advice and represent you in court, helping to ensure that your rights are protected. They can do so by defending you from manipulative tactics, negotiating a fair settlement, and helping to obtain custody or visitation rights.
Seek Professional Help
Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining. It’s essential to seek professional help, such as therapy, to cope with the stress of the situation. Talking to a therapist can be immensely helpful in dealing with emotional turmoil, processing your feelings, and understanding how to move forward post-divorce.
Understand Your Rights
You must understand all of your legal rights during divorce proceedings. This includes things like alimony rights, custody rights, and division of property ownership rights – to name a few. Knowing your legal entitlements will give you more power and improve outcomes.
Take Care of Yourself
Divorce can be an overwhelming experience, and it’s easy to forget about yourself in the process. Make sure that you take care of yourself both mentally and physically. This can include exercising, meditating, talking to friends and family, or simply taking time for yourself.
Divorce is challenging no matter who you are, but women are often disproportionately impacted by divorce proceedings. Understanding why this happens and how to better protect your rights will give you more power. With help from lawyers and therapists, you can ensure your rights are defended and ultimately try to reach a fairer settlement if divorce becomes inevitable.