In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Scarlett Johansson may have finally revealed why her marriage to fellow actor Ryan Reynolds ended in divorce. While she doesn’t specifically name Reynolds, Johansson does insinuate that competitiveness can complicate celebrity relationships.
As reported by EOnline, Johansson told Cosmo, “The logistics of being with another actor are challenging. There has to be a real understanding of how you share your time, especially when two people’s careers are going at the same rate. Or even if one person is more successful than the other, that also proves challenging. There may be a competitive thing.”
You don’t need to be famous like Scar-Jo to end up in divorce court
According to Dallas Divorce Attorney Christine Powers Leatherberry, it’s not uncommon for marriages to fall apart when the woman is more successful than the man. As a divorce lawyer in Dallas who works with many affluent and high-profile clients, Christine often handles cases with large gaps between the divorcing parties’ incomes.
“Some men feel emasculated when the wife is the breadwinner, especially when they aren’t contributing to the family in some way, such as taking on the duties of stay-at-home dad. This can spell trouble for couples in financially lopsided marriages,” says Christine.
Recent research from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business also confirms that divorce is more likely when women earn more money.
As the New York Times reports, the research revealed “there is a sharp drop in the number of male-female couples at exactly the point where the woman starts to earn more than half of household income.” The researchers also found that “the divorce rate rose by half, to about 18 percent, for couples in which the wife earned more than the husband.”
More women have higher earnings today than in years past
Whether women find success in higher-paying careers or come into the marriage with a sizable inheritance, the number of women who earn more than their partners has grown substantially since the 1980s.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cases where both spouses earn income, 17.8 percent of wives earned more than their husbands in 1987. That number rose to 28.2 percent in 2014. In scenarios where the husbands doesn’t work, the percentage grows from 23.7 percent in 1987 to 37.1 percent in 2014.
Women who are financially secure have more options following divorce
While all of the aforementioned statistics are compelling, they don’t reveal the biggest reason why women who have or earn more money are more likely to get divorced.
The truth is, affluent women don’t have to worry about financial issues following divorce like their less financially stable counterparts do.
As Christine explains, “The number one reason there is a higher divorce rate when women have or make more money than men is they have the ability to leave. Not only do they have the financial resources to do so, but they’re also not as concerned about life post-divorce, because their future is financially secure.”
When financial disparity exists, protect assets with a premarital agreement
When children aren’t involved, a premarital agreement almost always determines the outcome of a couple’s divorce. When sizeable assets and income are concerned, a prenup is essential if you want to protect your wealth.
“Women who have family money in particular, should seriously consider getting a premarital agreement. For wealthy individuals, premarital agreements can protect your and your family’s wealth following death or divorce,” says Christine.
Prenups also help define and protect separate property.
According to Christine, “It’s critical to get a premarital agreement if you own your own business, or if you have separate property from an inheritance. For example, if a past spouse died and you have money from life insurance or other assets from the estate, you should take steps to protect that wealth as separate property.”
Separate property can be in danger if you comingle a separate account with a community account. “Without experts tracing assets perfectly, it can be tricky to differentiate what was separate versus community property,” says Christine.
Prenups can also protect businesses and income earned from separate property
As Christine explains, “If you don’t have a premarital agreement, all income earned from separate property becomes community property. For example, if the woman owns rental properties, the income that she earns from rent is considered community property. This is true, even when the rental houses themselves are separate property, because the rent is considered income earned during the marriage.”
If you’re wealthy, already married and don’t have premarital agreement, it’s not too late to protect your assets and income from a business you own.
“It’s a smart idea to get a partition agreement – or post-marital agreement – especially if you’re starting your own business. That way, you can make sure that the business and income from the business remain separate. Partition agreements allow you to segregate certain property as your separate property,” explains Christine.
Successful, wealthy women can lower the odds of divorce with this one smart move
Many have speculated as to why marriages are more likely to fail when women are more successful or bring in more money like Scarlett Johansson. In some cases the man may feel emasculated, and in others, the woman may look down on the man if he makes less money than her.
According to Christine, “Generally, we also see higher rates of infidelity on both sides in these cases too. Still, there are many exceptions where this type of marriage does last.
My best piece of advice to affluent women in Dallas is to wait to marry until you find a man who isn’t threatened by your financial success. And if you can’t wait, contact a reputable Dallas divorce attorney to execute a premarital agreement, just in case things don’t work out as planned.”