Female Lawyers Get Divorced More Than Male Lawyers

April 14, 2008

A researcher has found that young female lawyers and other women professionals have slightly higher divorce rates than their male counterparts.

Law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson of Washington & Lee University is the author of the study. She says her study indicates that “women can’t have it all because there is a social stigma to having or being a stay-at-home spouse.”

Wilson spoke with the Wall Street Journal about her findings, based on her analysis of 100,000 young professionals in business, law and medicine. She found that 10 percent of women with law degrees were divorced, compared to 7 percent of male lawyers.

Wilson’s study, which will be released next week, also found that female professionals are up to three times more likely to remain unmarried than men.

Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who conducted research on high-achieving women in 2001, theorizes that highly educated women have higher divorce rates than their male counterparts because they are attracted to successful men, and can’t give these men the care and support they need.

Hewlett has this advice for well-educated, high-earning women: Look for a husband who is particularly loving and supportive.

Source:  “Women Lawyers Have Higher Divorce Rates, Need Loving Husbands, Researcher Says” by Debra Cassens Weiss, published in the ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter.


Paying the Piper: Interim Attorney Fees

April 11, 2006

So who is going to pay the bill for all this great legal work? What if one party is in control of the community funds and the other party cannot afford to get an attorney?

The solution is to request interim attorney fees during the pendency of the case. Interim fees may be awarded through temporary orders under TFC 6.502.

The Court will want to hear testimony about why there is a need for interim attorney fees. Reasons include great disparity of incomes, or lack of access to credit by one party. Generally, the Court should strive to equalize any inbalances so that each party has a fair chance to put on their case.

Many times, the judges will look for a source of income that they can channel to the disadvantaged party. This for example could be a large tax refund or yearly bonus that the judge orders on temporary orders to be used by a party to pay interim attorney fees. The judge can also order that spouse ordered to pay the interim fees must cash in stock or take a loan out against a retirement account.

The payment of interim attorney fees is considered temporary spousal support and is enforceable by contempt. (TFC 6.502 and 6.506 see also In re Bielefeld, 143 S.W. 3d 924 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2004)).