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Men become richer after divorce: study

world Updated: Jan 25, 2009 23:38 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
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A new British study has revealed that male incomes, specially of those who have children, rise by a third after a split while females face financial hardships.

Professor Stephen Jenkins, a director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and chair of the Council of the International Association for Research on Income and Wealth said, “The average woman’s income falls by a fifth and remains low for many years.”

This findings is quite opposite of the belief here that English courts are liberal in decreeing liberal and hefty settlements to wives and harsh on husbands.

The finding would cheer women in their twenties whose age group experiences maximum divorces.

But, some famous divorced women like Heather Mills, former wife of Sir Paul McCartney, who got £24 million after an acrimonious divorce fight, would rue that the findings did not come earlier. It is said by now almost half of the money she got has been exhausted.

Her future might not be too bright, without a possibility of income to suit the lifestyle she was accustomed to as Lady Heather.

For his research, Jenkins combined data from 14 different British Household Panel Surveys over 1991 to 2004 with the findings from five European surveys.

The research found that the incomes of “separating husbands” rise “immediately and continuously” in the years following a marital split.

The researchers found the positive effect on men's finances is so significant that divorce can even lift them out of poverty while women can plunge into destitution.

When a man leaves a childless marriage, his income immediately rises by 25 per cent, while women suffer a sharp fall in income — in fact, separated women have a poverty rate of 27 per cent, the study found.

“Maintenance paid by former partners also has little impact as just 31 per cent of separated mothers receive payment from the father of their children.

There are only two factors that have an impact on women's financial position, post relationship breakdown.

“The percentage change in income is less if they have worked beforehand and continue working afterwards. The impact is also reduced if they start working after the relationship breakdown,” Jenkins said.