Is Gender Bias Affecting Your Collaborative Case?

Is Gender Bias Affecting Your Collaborative Case?

Written by My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs, ACP

Consider the following scenario.  Husband earns approximately $350,000 per year.  Wife has been a stay at home parent for their one child but has had a side business throughout the marriage that generates about $25,000 a year in income.  At age 60 they have decided to divorce.  They have been married for 25 years.  Does the wife get alimony?  Is it permanent alimony?

My experience tells me that the answer to both of those questions is yes.  

However, I am finding that in today’s world we are seeing more divorces where the roles are reversed.  I am currently involved in two Collaborative cases in which the wife earns substantially more than the husband.  And the biggest hurdle we are facing in both cases is the idea of the wife paying the husband alimony.  

Implicit bias refers to the attitude or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.

It is critical that we be aware of, and monitor for, the existence of such implicit biases in our Collaborative cases.  In fact, IACP Ethical Standard 3.4A. places an obligation of all members of the Collaborative team to inform the other professionals of facts or circumstances that are likely to impair the effective functioning of the Process.  Implicit biases and, in the circumstances described above, gender bias can be a major impairment in the Process and must be recognized and discussed.

1 Response

  1. LOVE the illustration! Husband’s path is being painted for him by the big hand (of Patriarchy? of Society?) Wife is behind him having to do the same work while making her own path. But we’re not bitter. 🙂 At the same time, Husband has fewer options for his path, and Wife could more easily go her own way…..Hmmmmm

Leave a comment