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The Effects of Divorce

The Effects of Divorce on Men and Women

As you would expect, men and women experience divorce very differently.  Society tells us that women struggle more than men.  As it turns out, men often find divorce more challenging to their overall health and well-being.

According to a recent study from the Journal of Men’s Health, divorced men are more susceptible to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes than married men are — in addition to being 39 percent more likely to commit suicide and engage in risky behavior.

To understand a little more about divorce and the typical effects it has on men, women and children it is helpful to know the facts.

  • 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And while this is somewhat accurate, it’s also a bit misleading. Age is a factor in this percentage.  Those who marry when between the ages of 20 to 24 have the highest rate of divorce.
  • 67% percent of all second marriages end in divorce and 73% of all third marriages.
  • 50% of all children are children of divorced parents.

Here are some of the experiences of men and women in divorce:

For women:

  1. Women initiate divorce twice as often as men.
  2. 90% of divorced mothers have custody of their children (even if they did not receive it in court.)
  3. 60% of people under poverty guidelines are divorced women and children.
  4. Single mothers support up to four children on an average after-tax annual income of $12,200.
  5. 65% divorced mothers receive no child support and  75% receive court-ordered child support.
  6. After divorce, women experience less stress and better adjustment in general than do men. The reasons for this are that (1) women are more likely to notice marital problems and to feel relief when such problems end, (2) women are more likely than men to rely on social support systems and help from others, and (3) women are more likely to experience an increase in self-esteem when they divorce and add new roles to their lives.
  7. Women who work and place their children in child care experience a greater stigma than men in the same position. Men in the same position often attract support and compassion.

For men:

  1. Men are usually confronted with greater emotional adjustment problems than women. The reasons for this are related to the loss of intimacy, the loss of social connection, reduced finances, and the common interruption of the parental role.
  2. Men tend to remarry more quickly than women.
  3. As compared to “deadbeat dads,” men who have shared parenting (joint legal custody), ample time with their children, and an understanding of and direct responsibility for activities and expenses of children, stay involved in their children’s lives and are in greater compliance with child support obligations. There is also a greater satisfaction with child support amount when negotiated in mediation.
  4. Men are initially more negative about divorce than women and devote more energy in attempting to salvage the marriage.

These facts and figures give us the bigger picture of how divorce affects men, women and children across America.  What it doesn’t tell us are the individual stories and how it impacts lives.

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