Women in the Law

Should you count on Prince Charming? Divorce lawyer offers six reasons to keep working

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A divorce lawyer is advising professional women to keep working, at least part time, rather than opting out completely to care for their children.

The advice by Margaret Klaw in a post for the DailyWorth.com is the latest entry in the debate about the drawbacks of opting out, the New York Times reports. Klaw writes that she has seen lots of women, many with college and graduate degrees, who stop working only to realize 15 or 20 years later that they are completely dependent financially on their spouse.

She offers six things to consider before leaving the workforce:

• “You can’t count on Prince Charming.” Since about half of all marriages end in divorce, it’s good to have a backup plan. Spouses can also get sick, become disabled, or die. “A little sign hanging in my law partner’s office says: ‘A Man is Not a Financial Plan,’ ” Klaw writes. “Wise words.”

• “The longer you opt out, the harder it is to get back in.” Job skills get rusty and contacts dwindle.

• “Money is power.” The power dynamic in a marriage is different when one spouse is financially dependent upon the other.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “‘Opt-out’ professionals go back to work, but for some it’s a struggle”

ABAJournal.com: “ ‘Talking about work-life balance is fraud’ says ABA President Laurel Bellows”

ABAJournal.com: “These Lawyer Families Are New Twist on Opt-Out Professionals”

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