Women won’t fully recover financially for more than six years after a divorce while a man’s household income virtually remains the same.
One year after separating, a woman’s household income is 21 per cent lower compared to women in a relationship, an Australian Institute of Family Studies report shows.
Six years later and they still haven’t fully recovered, with their income still down 12 per cent.
However, a man’s household income is similar to non-separated men in the first year of a split.
Co-researcher and ANU professor Matthew Gray said the figures were the same for women with or without children.
Prof Gray said the greatest drop in a person’s income came from splitting from a partner who earned more money.
Men’s actual income did decline after separation, but so would their expenses as on average they contributed to the bulk of the household income in a relationship, he said.
“The biggest cost tends to be for women who are not working, have taking time out of work to have children and who are married to someone high-income earning,” Prof Gray said. “(For men) once you take into account the change in household costs and that the children are typically living with the mother all the time or most of the time … their living expenses are lower.”
But separated Australian women are better off than women in countries such as the US, Germany and Britain where men are substantially worse off.
“In Britain (men) were 18 per cent worse off, in Germany 13 per cent worse off and in the USA 11 per cent worse off,” Prof Gray said.
“In Australia the negative impact was slight – just one per cent.
“Only in Switzerland did men emerge financially better off.”