There has been much buzz generated about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All" found at www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020. And I have been thinking about it a lot lately – for myself personally – and as a family law attorney. How is a family dynamic affected by a woman who "has it all," or who wants to "have it all" and how does that affect any distribution of a marital estate and custody of the children in the event of divorce?
In a society where more women are working and gaining financial independence, men are sharing more in the parenting responsibilities of the children then ever before. That shift in the roles of each spouse has an effect on the family in the event of a divorce. When men and women have joint child-care responsibilities, they are more likely to agree to a 50-50 custody schedule (and if they cannot agree, the Court is more likely to order a 50-50 custody schedule). In addition, where both parties are financially independent, the marital estate is more likely to be split equally. And as for alimony, generally the higher earner has an obligation to the other spouse (regardless of gender), so when a wife is the higher earner she could have an alimony obligation to her husband.
Each family unit is unique, so the Court will look at the way you cared for your children and earned your incomes during the marriage to determine the "equitable" result in the event of a divorce.