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Divorce: Short End of the Stick

Why men are more dissatisfied than women during divorce settlements—and it has less to do with money.

Statistics show that women usually get the short end of the stick when their marriages break up. But it's men who feel more dissatisfied with their divorce settlements—and not for the reasons you might think.

When Indiana State University psychologist Virgil Sheets, Ph.D., asked 372 ex-couples how they felt about the terms of their divorce—including custody arrangements, child support, and division of property—he found that women were far more pleased than their former mates. And it didn't matter that the average woman's standard of living plummets 27 percent the year after her marriage dissolves, while a man's increases 10 percent.

"Financial outcome may not be what determines people's happiness with their divorce," says Sheets. Instead, he attributes husbands' dissatisfaction to their feeling that they had less control over their divorce proceedings than their wives did.