As women have achieved greater financial and career independence over the last few decades, an interesting trend has appeared: today, about two-thirds of divorces are initiated by the woman. The rate is even higher for women who are financially successful.
The trend should not be all that surprising. In the distant past, in Colorado and elsewhere, women generally relied on marriage for financial stability. Today, of course, many more women are well-educated and managing their own careers. They are less likely to be financially dependent on a marriage, and the statistics show they are exercising their freedom and filing for divorce when the marriage is no longer working.
But with this freedom comes some risk: financially successful women have more at stake in a divorce. In Colorado, property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is generally considered marital property, which the court will divide equitably in a divorce. An equitable division is not necessarily 50/50; it’s what the court deems to be fair and just. But even if a majority of the marital property was purchased with the woman’s earnings, the court is unlikely to take that into account in the asset division. In addition, it is not uncommon nowadays for women to be ordered to pay alimony (sometimes called maintenance in Colorado) to an ex-husband.
Financially successful women going through a divorce need the help of an attorney who understands the issues involved in a high asset divorce. An attorney with a sophisticated understanding of complex asset division issues can make sure a financially successful woman is treated fairly in the divorce process.
Source: Forbes, “Not Your Mother’s Divorce: Three 21st Century Trends,” Jeff Landers, June 20, 2013