In 1988, former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor’s office released a survey showing that San Diego women needed help in getting divorced and recovering financially. Since the report, there have been changes. Compared with previous generations, women today are financially less bound to marriage and less likely to avoid divorce because of money, according to Barbara Defoe Whitehead. Whitehead was the co-author of the National Marriage Project at New Jersey’s Rutgers University study, which was released in July 2005.
“The State of Our Unions 2005” annual report showed that the U.S. marriage rate declined 50 percent between 1970 and 2004, which the report linked to an increase in heterosexual couples living together. The study also revealed that about a quarter of unmarried women ages 25 to 39 are currently living with a partner, while an additional quarter have lived with a partner at some time in the past.
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In San Diego, according to the 2005 released American Community Survey 2003, the percentage of unmarried heterosexual partner households is slightly higher than the national average at 5.4 percent compared to the 4.5 percent nationally. Couples appear to be putting off marriage longer, and when the do marry, many are still living like singles by keeping separate bank accounts and spelling out marital agreements.
Some experts attribute the fact that six out of 10 divorce cases are initiated by women because the growing economic independence of women, but other experts say more than a quarter of all women who begin divorce actions have been the victims of domestic violence and abuse. The Rutgers University study also asserted wealth is one of the biggest predictors of a failed marriage, and San Diego financial planners say they see couples put off divorce because they are unable to afford two pieces of real estate in a pricey market.
Particularly, women in San Diego will continue to take abuse or put up with affairs because they are unable to live the same lifestyle, according to some financial experts. The majority of all divorce cases are settled out of court, where many important issues are often negotiated or mediated, and it is extremely important a San Diego divorce attorney understands all aspects of the spouse’s concerns.
Ginita Wall is a San Diego certified public accountant who teamed up with stockbroker Candace Bahr, to founding the nonprofit Women’s Institute for Financial Education. This came a year after then-Mayor O’Connor released the survey showing that San Diego women needed help in getting divorced and recovering financially. According to Wall, too many women fight for the home when they have children to avoid uprooting them, but later find they do not have the cash flow to pay for it. Instead, women going through a divorce need to determine which assets will help them pay their bills and reach their long-term goals, which an experienced and qualified San Diego divorce attorney will understand.
A reputable divorce attorney is able to expertly advise their clients on the bigger financial picture which, according to Wall, women often fail to see because their focus is so intent on winning custody of the children or keeping the house. Richard Peterson of the Social Science Research Council said that on average a woman’s standard of living decreases by 27 percent after divorce.
The fact is almost half of all marriages will still end in divorce, despite the shifting statistics, and women must know they can get legal help from our San Diego divorce lawyers to protect them from suffering major financial and emotional losses.