When you hear attorneys advertise for family law or divorce law, you often hear them say that they specialize in “divorce for men” or “divorce for women.” But is there really a difference—does one sex have an advantage in family court over the other?

The Way it Used to Be

In the old days, it used to be the case that courts would presume that kids were better off with their mothers. A father could get the majority of timesharing, but it was very difficult. And because moms, in the old way of thinking, always stayed home to raise kids, they necessarily needed alimony and child support.

But society has since rectified those very gender-stereotypical notions, and family law has equaled the playing field. None of those former beliefs have any legal weight or validity in family court, and mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, start off every family law case on an even playing field.

A Reflection of Society

It may seem like one gender or the other has an advantage in a divorce case, but that is not because of family law—it is because of society.

For example, almost every study shows that a woman earns less than a man for doing the same job. In family court, over an aggregate amount, that will bear out to wives earning less than husbands, thus leading to wives receiving alimony or other support more often than men.

A man can, if he so chooses, have a child and continue to go to work literally the day after childbirth (not an ideal choice, but one that can physically be accomplished). Not so for a woman; although there are laws that protect a woman’s job when she is out with a newborn child, the physically necessary leave from work, whether paid or unpaid, may have an effect on women’s careers and earnings that men do not have to worry about.

Mothers who may breastfeed may be more likely to stay home, foregoing job opportunities while the husband works. While she is doing this, she may be seen by a court as being the primary caregiver of infant children and thus having an advantage in a timesharing or custody dispute.

All of this means that when it is time to divorce, wives are more likely to be the ones with the need for alimony or child support, and husbands are more likely to be able to pay either one.

In other words, the results in our family court cases just reflect what happens-often the inequities- in society. But the laws themselves do not give an advantage to either male or female.

Initiating Divorce Cases

Note that some studies do show that women are more likely to be the ones to initiate and file a divorce. But divorce law does not give any advantage to the party who first files the divorce, so the initial filing advantage would not affect the outcomes of those divorce cases.

Contact our New Jersey family law and divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today for help if you are thinking about divorce.

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The Law Office of Agnes Rybar, LLC, in Toms River, New Jersey, serves clients throughout Ocean County, Monmouth County and elsewhere in South Jersey and along the Jersey Shore, including many in Forked River, Brick and Lakewood.

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