Recent studies show that women are still having a rough time in the working world. Women in Illinois and elsewhere who go through a divorce, especially those who are mothers, face low wages and discrimination in the workplace. This is despite the fact that households in this country are increasingly dependent on the income working women bring in.
There are currently over 2.8 million women employed in Illinois. Approximately 622,000 are the heads of their households, and 334,000 of those include kids under the age of 18. Right now, 47 percent of total family income now comes from employed wives’ earnings.
Single parents, especially single mothers, including those who are divorced, only earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn, making it difficult to escape poverty, especially since the onset of the recession in 2008. Researchers say that increasing the minimum wage to a level that is closer to a living wage could help alleviate the problem.
The poverty level is currently set at $18,123 for a three-person family consisting of one adult and two children. A single mother would have to earn at least $8.71 an hour to make that much, more than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and the Illinois state minimum wage of $8.25 an hour. But that is not the final answer, as working single mothers have additional expenses, such as child care, which are estimated to raise the actual amount they would have to earn to escape poverty to $17.50 an hour, a figure almost impossible to imagine legislators approving.
Divorce and single parenthood do not have to be losing propositions. Spousal maintenance and child support payments could help these women make ends meet. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help women understand their rights and obtain the funds they need from their ex-partners.
Source: Canton Daily Ledger, “Working women bear burden of low pay,” Bill Knight, Jan. 25, 2013
Our firm works with women like the ones discussed in this post to obtain spousal and child support. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Libertyville, Illinois, family law website.