What if a Wife Earns More Than the Husband in a North Carolina Divorce?

Although a female breadwinner was once a completely foreign concept in North Carolina, it has now become relatively common. In many heterosexual marriages, the wife earns more than the man. This is especially common among female celebrities, as high-earning entertainers like Taylor Swift are now some of the most financially successful people on the planet. Swift has a reported net worth of almost $750 million, and Forbes estimates that her upcoming “Eras” tour could eventually generate over $4.5 billion. Women such as this would find it difficult to find a husband with a higher earning capacity, and many wives in North Carolina find themselves in similar situations. What happens when one of these marriages ends in divorce?

Ariana Grande’s Divorce Serves as an Interesting Case Study

Although Ariana Grande did not divorce her ex-husband in North Carolina, her situation still serves as a relevant case study for high-earning wives and relatively low-earning husbands. She divorced an individual named Dalton Gomez, who apparently earned quite a fortune as a luxury real estate agent. Despite his impressive career, however, his net worth pales in comparison to Grande’s. While the singer’s fortune is apparently worth about $240 million, Gomez has a net worth of $20 million.

If the couple had not signed a prenuptial agreement, Dalton would likely walk away with a much larger share of the family fortune. While the couple enjoyed just two years of marriage, Grande likely earned millions of dollars throughout this process in the form of royalties, concerts, album releases, brand deals, and much more. By comparison, Dalton may have earned much less. Fortunately for Grande, they did sign a prenup that is apparently “iron-clad.”

This led to Dalton Gomez walking away with a single, lump-sum, tax-free payment of $1.25 million. In addition, it seems as though Grande paid most of her ex-husband’s legal fees. Finally, he has essentially been given a 30-day deadline to move out of the family home, and he will not be receiving any other spousal support payments. In terms of property division, their home will apparently be sold, indicating that it was purchased during the marriage. They will assumedly split the proceeds equally. The home itself is worth about $6 million, which means that Dalton will leave the marriage with about $7.5 million in total.

How Would a Similar Divorce Be Handled in North Carolina?

A similar marriage in North Carolina would likely be handled in almost exactly the same way, especially if the spouses signed a prenuptial agreement. It is worth mentioning that wives and husbands are treated equally by family courts in North Carolina. When it comes to property division and spousal support, family courts do not differentiate between males and females. The only important factors are income levels, assets, and overall wealth. A woman who earns more than their husband is (at least in theory) treated in exactly the same way as a husband who earns more than their wife.

The Statistics Associated with Female Breadwinners

Although laws in North Carolina do not differentiate between genders in the event of a divorce, statistics show that a marriage with a female breadwinner is associated with certain outcomes.

Various studies have shown that men are more likely to cheat if their wives earn more than them. However, this statistic also applies both ways, as men are also more likely to cheat if they earn much more than their wives. Various psychologists have analyzed this dynamic, concluding that when a woman earns more than their husband, it shifts the traditional power balance between the sexes.

This may lead to a general sense of dissatisfaction for both spouses. Women may find themselves less attracted to husbands who earn less – perhaps due to an instinctual desire to find a good provider. In contrast, husbands who earn less may feel emasculated and insecure due to their wives’ higher income. This could potentially make both spouses more likely to cheat. Aside from being an interesting psychological dilemma, it may also lead to unique consequences for men in these relationships. If the wife can prove that the man cheated, he may lose access to alimony that is usually provided to a lower-earning spouse.

Where Can I Find an Experienced Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

The prospect of a high-earning wife can be a difficult situation for many divorcing spouses in North Carolina. Whether you earn more than your husband or your wife holds most of the assets, unique strategies may be required as you pursue positive results. Speak with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to discuss some of these potential strategies and get started with an effective, targeted action plan. Our North Carolina family law attorneys have considerable experience with high-net-worth divorces.