Posted: 10:07 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014

Do women represent women better/worse in divorce? 

By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

I have a friend getting divorced, and it is very interesting how the advice of her legal counsel differs based on whether she is talking to the man on the team versus a woman.

The man is a senior partner and she only deals with him sometimes because he is extremely expensive. She is a stay-at-home mom with multiple small children. He originally told her not to find a job and not to move in with her family. He is trying to demonstrate that the husband needs to pay the child support and take care of his family.

However, whenever my friend ends up talking to the woman on the team — not a partner who married but no kids — she is badgered that she needs to find a job and should move into her own apartment and not stay in the house.

My friend feels like the woman lawyer, who is obviously working, is judging her for being a stay-at-home mother, and that her advice will not necessary ensure a better settlement but is her own personal bent.

Also I find interesting how the sex of the mediator plays into things. The husband specifically didn’t want a woman meditator because he was under the impression the woman would side with his wife more readily. However, the male mediator was rather harsh to the husband basically telling him to get his stuff together and support his family.

What has your experience been with female lawyers versus male lawyers? Did you find that their advice differed based on their sex? What about judges and mediators? Do men mediator/judges tend to judge deadbeat dads more harshly than a woman? Or do you think a woman would be more ready to side and support a “sister?” Which sex would you choose to represent you? Which sex would you want as a mediator or judge? 

 

14 comments
SaraJames
SaraJames

According to the article, this mother of four hasn't the common sense to ask the firm representing her in a divorce why she is getting conflicting legal opinions of what she should do?  Give me a break.  This article looks like a stretch to come up with a topic.


FRMRTCHR
FRMRTCHR

Mom needs to step up for herself.  I am not divorced but have watched family and friends go through it.  My best friend divorced and fought tooth and nail for ample money to be a stay at home mom with the kids.  Her male lawyer advised her to stay in the home and not look for work.  The female judge lambasted her from one side of the courtroom to the other.  She was told her ex-husband was responsible for child support and she would get alimony for only 2 years and she could not expect her ex-husband to completely support her lifestyle since the marriage had ended.  For the rest she had to rely on herself. My younger sister had a similar experience.  A male friend that had been a stay at home dad was told no alimony and to get a job immediately and pay child support so mom could put the kids in day care even though he had been staying home with the children. 

Divorce means a complete change of lifestyle and mom needs to recognize that as soon as possible and begin to make the best  decisions for herself and the children.  My best friend realized this nearly too late but did get a job .  I realize the situation is different for every divorcing couple but the first thing to realize is that the mom is now responsible for herself.  

RealKat
RealKat

BTW: Divorces are tough whether you have two children, three children, four (or more), or none. Let us not criticize the number of children who are going through this tough time by expecting their parents to be mind readers.

RealKat
RealKat

Depending on the circumstances, four kids is not uncommon based on religious beliefs or the plan for the mom to stay home. If she supported him in his career, it is not uncommon to have him help her with bills for her to get an education (esp if she supported him) or some other type of training. Depending on how "involved" the situation is (contentious, etc) and the age of the children, if she were to move out it might be for the best BUT they'll need to discuss schools and such, which (depending on age of the children) another change might traumatize the kids. I've never been divorced, married almost 15 years with three kids, but those things come to mind. If it were me, I'd want to have a job, just in case he doesn't come through.

Me 2
Me 2

Why does society put so much BLAME and PRESSURE on women? It’s 2014 and women still get a bad wrapno matter the circumstances. Why are you judging her for having 4 children? What is wrong with y’all??? She’s going to need a job outside of the home one day but until that day comes, HE NEEDS TO TAKE CARE OF HER AND THE CHILDREN! I’m sure they discussed her being a SAHM (by the way, this is a JOB) How do we know if she had a career prior to children or child 2,3,4…we don’t know. I swear y’all are some judgmental, self-righteous people. He should pay alimony for a full year and even if she gets job within that year, the checks should still flow. She should keep the house, he needs to go.


T, tell your friend to fight for what's right even if it gets tough. Don't give up and don't give in...win the war not the battle!

TechMom1
TechMom1

I've not been divorced but I believe my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are headed that way now... things are ugly in their house. They go to their first counseling session today but I don't have much hope for them. The process of a divorce is enough to make me want to work things out!!  


I think attorneys and judges are bent based on their personal experiences just like we all are. If they went through a nasty divorce and feel like one side got treated better or worse than the other, they might try to 'correct' the issue by siding with one parent over the other. We'd all like to think judges are fair but they have a lot of leeway. 


That being said, we all know that the general attitude of working women toward SAHM tends to be negative (even if the working woman is really somewhat jealous). Or maybe the female attorney is trying to tell the woman to stop being naive b/c the reality is, most divorced moms have to work.  I just think this mom friend of yours should definitely plan to go back into the workforce unless the husband makes enough to truly support himself PLUS an entire family. Most single-income families I know aren't exactly rolling in the dough (though there are plenty of people who make way more than I do so who knows!)

Lord Humungus
Lord Humungus

I can't relate in that my wife and I have been married for over 20 years. Why have more children if there are warning signs for I doubt the relationship just suddenly went south?

What single man is going to want to get involved with a divorced lady with multiple kids?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I don't think it breaks down by gender.  Everyone is colored by their own experiences, and that is what makes the difference.


Actually, upon second thought, the color that decides things is probably green.  If there is lots of it in the picture, you are likely to get more aggressive representation.


She is really going to need to get the education she needs to work, as there are not too many sugar daddies out there looking for a woman with 4 children to marry.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

Never been divorced and never been a SAHM. No experience here. I do think that she will need to get a job , at some point. Tough with 4 kids. Which is why we had 2. All we could afford with both of us working. Not sure all parents look at the what ifs when they have 4 or more children. But that is just my opinion and why I think all woman should have some type of part time job. Tough stuff!

usedtobejct
usedtobejct

I have never been divorced but here are my two cents anyway.


Maybe the female lawyer is being more of a realist.  You cannot expect to maintain the same standard of living if you divorce.  It is not a reasonable expectation that you will continue as a stay at home mom in the long term.  Eventually you will have to work since child support is to support the children not you.  As we have also seen on this blog, many custodial parents receive infrequent or no child support even when the courts determine it to be paid.


Here is where I think women get a bad rap for being realists.  Really, what is the best settlement?  That she and her husband separate, maintain a respectful relationship so that they can co-parent their children to become successful adults or is it for her to get the best settlement?


Divorce is emotional and messy.  There is no winning.  There is no best.  There can only be an equitable distribution of assets (maybe).

WasDenise
WasDenise

When my coworker got a divorce he had to pay his now ex-wife money for "loss of income" because they decided she would be a SAHM after their daughter was born.  If this friend had a job before, her soon-to-be-ex may be forced to pay for their decision to take her out of the workplace.  She has "lost out on" promotions, raises, etc. and she "has to be compensated".  At least according to the judge my coworker went before. Fair or not, he took that penalty.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

Not my place to judge. I know folks who are naive about having lots of kids. It only gets more expensive as they get older. What kids "need" today costs $$$. My daughter tells me that many of her peers at UGA do not work. Add to that fraternity or sorority dues.....yikes! I am pretty sure most men cannot float this boat alone, nor could a mom who is the sole breadwinner. . I am a realist. Our dual income is more than lots of folks and I still use coupons and shop at Big Lots. Some moms( who have not had a job) have no clue how much money it takes to survive. Pardon my ignorance if he pulls in over $200,000. Then he can probably swing it. In my world, woman are the ones who want large families. Unless you are on a farm and more laborers are needed.

Lord Humungus
Lord Humungus

The English language when properly written eliminates the need to use capital letters to emphasize a point. It worked great for Tolstoy in addition to Mark, Luke, Matthew and John.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

I met a lady in Florida who told me this, " my son is going to kinder next year and I guess I will have to get a job. I have been divorced for 3 years and his dad says I need to go back to work . ". He was in preschool. Seems like she could have had a part time job? No siblings.