Divorce affects everyone differently, and no two splits are the same. Yet there are some hurdles that women may face which can leave them feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the future.

Here, we explore some of these challenges and what women can do to support themselves during and after divorce.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference between the earnings of men and women. According to the Office for National Statistics, it stood at 14.3% for all employees in 2023. 

“There remains a large difference in the gender pay gap between employees aged 40 years and over and those aged under 40 years”. 

While it has “decreased across all major occupational groups between 2022 and 2023”, it remains across the UK and is larger among higher earners and skilled trades. 

The gender pay gap may present challenges for women post-divorce, particularly if their male spouse earns significantly more money. For instance, research from Legal and General says that women may see their income drop by 33% after divorce, compared to just 18% for men. 

Career interruptions

The gender pay gap is driven by a few factors, including the fact that “a much higher proportion of women work part-time, and part-time workers earn less than their full-time counterparts on average” says the UK Government

In fact, “38% of women in employment worked part-time, compared with 14% of men” according to recent data from the UK Parliament.

There may be several reasons that a higher percentage of women do part-time roles. For instance, they may reduce their working hours to take on more child and house-related responsibilities. 

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Taking breaks from jobs or lowering hours to raise a family can significantly impact career progression and earnings, ultimately affecting women’s financial independence.

Lack of financial freedom

Those who work part-time or have taken on full-time roles as mothers may rely wholly or partly on their spouse’s income to manage the household finances. 

This can mean that some women lack financial freedom, which can be a cause for concern during divorce proceedings. 

However, they can instruct a financial settlement solicitor to help come to a mutual agreement with their ex during the divorce. This may include spousal maintenance, which is a payment made by the higher earner to the lower earner on an ongoing basis after the split. 

A specialist solicitor can also help with decisions on savings, investments, property, pensions, personal items and much more. This can give women the peace of mind that they have expert legal support to get the right outcome for themselves and their families.

There are many challenges that women may face during divorce, from the gender pay gap to career interruptions. However, seeking professional help, building a strong support network and developing a personalised financial plan can help women get the best possible result from their divorce.