This is an interesting question that has two answers, depending on who you ask. Many of us have heard the expression, "She took me to the cleaners." This is certainly a popular belief among males, but is it really justified?
Probably not. At least, not to the extent that legend would have us believe.
We invite you to ask any male friend or family member if they believe women get a raw deal in divorce. Or, switch it around, and ask any female if she thinks men get a raw deal in divorce?
The people we have asked not only answer no; they also get a look on their faces suggesting it would be moronic for anyone to answer otherwise. Their automatic no is the result of their perspective, which may or may not have any bearing on the actual truth of the matter.
By definition, perspective is how we see or understand something. It's our point of view, and it is formed over the years by our life experiences. Perspectives are involuntary, subjective, extremely personal, and almost impossible to change.
Once we form a perspective on a particular topic, everything we observe is seen with this perspective in mind. When we notice things that confirm the righteousness of our view, we accept them as evidence that our perspective is correct.
When something does not confirm our view, we minimize it or deny its validity. We are not motivated to question what we firmly believe to be true. We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.
What causes both men and women to form a belief that their gender gets a raw deal in divorce? It could be because there are no winners in divorce. When there are no winners, the likely message that gets circulated throughout society is that the gender in question has lost again.
There can be no winners because the divorce legal system is incapable of giving anyone more than they had when their case started. Both parties leave the divorce process with less than they had when they entered it (and this is before the attorneys get a dime).
Another likely factor is that our adversarial culture plants such a distrusting bias in our minds, that we become wary of the entire process.
Generations of youngsters have overheard whispers of how Aunt So-and-So got the short end of the stick in her divorce or about how "cool" it is to slip one past the other party. Legend perpetually speaks of the proverbial unsuspecting spouse who now wishes that he or she "had known better."
We are conditioned to believe that we should be on heightened alert during our divorce. This negative mindset makes it difficult to be pleased with any result we obtain.
Men and women generally have different thought processes when it comes to divorce. Many men are driven by their personal sense of justice, which is normally based on what they have learned from their co-workers, friends, and family members. They seem to focus more about not getting taken advantage of than the actual financial hardships they may be facing.
Women typically seem to be more concerned with what they need to get by on than what they believe the norm is.
While these are mere generalizations, the fact remains that neither men nor women walk away from their divorces feeling that justice was done. Both sexes wind up believing they have given up too much. Just ask them.
Incidentally, we recently did a Google search for "Do men get screwed in divorce" and found a staggering 3.7 million hits. What surprised us is that a comparable Google search for "Do women get screwed in divorce" showed 3.2 million hits. How's that for an indication that raw deals in divorce may not be gender specific?