Women, Money & Divorce

Untangling assets and navigating legal challenges is complex and can result in a significant reduction in income. Journalist Tamsen Fadal sat down with Jill Faherty Lloyd of UBS, Holly Parker of Douglas Elliman, and Jacqueline Newman of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein to discuss the financial and emotional implications of divorce for women, and provide insights into how women can protect their financial well-being.

In a panel discussion centered on women’s financial empowerment, experts Jill Faherty Lloyd, Holly Parker, Jacqueline Newman, and Tamsen Fadal discussed the complex emotional, legal, and financial aspects of divorce. They stressed the importance of women taking control of their finances, emphasizing the concepts that “money is energy,” “money is power,” and “money is freedom.”

Fadal, a journalist focusing on mid-life changes for women, was joined by Lloyd, a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services, Parker, an author, top real estate broker for Douglas Elliman, and Founder & CEO of The Holly Parker Group, and Newman, a matrimonial lawyer for ​​Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein. They brought their professional experiences to advise women on safeguarding their financial well-being at all stages of life.

The future for educated working women in the U.S. is optimistic, with projections that they will hold two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2030. Lloyd pointed out that women’s higher education rates and entrepreneurial spirit have put them in a strong position. Furthermore, women often inherit wealth twice in their lifetime, from their parents and through divorce or widowhood.

Despite these trends, the panel acknowledged challenges, such as women’s tendency to agree to unfair settlements during divorce. They stressed the need for women to be conscious of their financial details and to be comfortable discussing money. Awareness of mortgage types and a complete mental list of assets and liabilities were recommended by Parker.

The panel also noted that the divorce rate has doubled since 1990, with women initiating nearly 70% of divorces. This trend, aligned with women’s growing financial independence, has both empowered them to leave unhappy marriages and presented financial risks, especially for those out of the workforce. Changes in alimony allocation by courts have made divorce a riskier prospect for many women, leading some to consider staying in unhappy marriages for financial security.

To mitigate these risks, the panel advocated for prenuptial agreements, arguing that they don’t signal planning for divorce but rather foster open communication about wealth. They also emphasized the need for a support team during divorce, including financial advisors, attorneys, therapists, and friends.

Newman and Parker emphasized that women must understand what they own and owe, be aware of their wills and trust agreements, and be open to talking about money with financially savvy friends. The panel unanimously recommended working with financial advisors to create economic goals and identify valuable assets.