Does divorce make men richer?

When a dad separates from the mother of his children, his available income increases by 25 percent, the research carried out by 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, found.

Sex and relationships, Divorce
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In stark contrast, women suffer severe financial penalties -- regardless of whether she has children.

The survey, Marital Splits and Income Changes over the Longer Term, which is the first to track the changing wealth levels in Britain associated with a marriage breakdown, revealed that the average woman's income falls by more than a fifth and remains low for many years.

Jenkins's research found that the incomes of "separating husbands" rise "immediately and continuously" in the years following a marital split.

"The differences between the sexes are stark," the Guardian quoted him, as saying.

"But this is not so much a gender thing as a parent thing. The key differences are not between men and women, but between fathers and mothers," he added.

To reach the conclusion, Jenkins combined data from 14 different British Household Panel Surveys over 1991 to 2004 with the findings from five European surveys.

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

"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. There is also a potential positive impact if she remarries," he added, "although the impact is a small one."

The position can be reversed if a separated man has more children with a new partner while paying maintenance to his first family. The only way to level the playing field is to make men and women more alike in terms of roles in the family and in the labour market, the expert said.

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