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Striking a proper (fair) property division balance

Our last post looked at the possibility of psychological differences between men and women that could leave women at something of a disadvantage in settling for divorce. This could be in Louisiana, or any other state for that matter.

But, you may ask, how is that possible in a state where the concept of community property is the standard? Legal theory would suggest that all community property is supposed to be subject to equal division between the couple. Is it possible for one side or the other to come out ahead in such a situation?

As hard as it might be to believe, the answer to the question has to be yes. Recall that previous post. In it, we talked about the conclusion of two psychologists who say men and women approach negotiations differently and how that could negatively influence the outcome of a divorce settlement. A woman might be inclined to give up more for the sake maintaining some relationships important to her.

It becomes easy to imagine that a husband who knows that and happens to feel spited might use that psychology to leverage child custody arrangements as a way to gain financial concessions.

Indeed, the notion that women invariably siphon off the wealth of their husbands in divorce and go on to live lives of luxury is not one that stands up to scrutiny, especially for women who worked before getting married and starting families.

According to research by a London economics professor, divorce often leaves women who had worked before marriage earning about 20 percent less upon reentering the workforce. Men's incomes tended to increase, though why is unclear.

It should be noted that the economist doesn't conclude this is a gender issue. Rather, he says it's a matter of marital roles. He says he found women more likely to have been the ones who stepped away from careers to focus on the family.

Community property doesn't guarantee equal division. Many factors can influence outcomes. The way one spouse values an asset may be completely different from the other. Obtaining effective guidance and advocacy is essential for protection of rights and proper balance.

Source: TheAtlantic.com, "The Divorce Gap," Darlena Cunha, accessed Aug. 16, 2016

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