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Is Divorce Harder on Women?

If you're seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, it doesn't matter what sex you are. Male or female, divorce is filled with emotional extremes and financial stresses. New reports, however, suggest that the divorce process is tougher on women than it is on men. With childcare responsibilities and fewer financial resources, modern women of divorce are still faced with challenges that their male counterparts are unlikely to encounter.

According to a report from Marie Claire magazine, a woman's overall quality of life drops 45 percent after a divorce. Another study from Iowa State University's Institute of Social and Behavioral research found that while divorce didn't immediately affect a woman's physical health, the effects on her mental health caused physical problems a decade after divorce. Social isolation and fewer job opportunities after divorce, according to the study, could be responsible for illness reported fifteen years later. Psychologists attribute stress as the cause of health issues after a divorce.

"It's very, very traumatic... they are so attached to the commitment. The forever of two lives is being upset, and all dreams and hopes, everything that you have thought about since childhood is lost. Even people who are very functioning are surprised at how hard it is just to do their daily activities," says Allison Pescosolido, a grief counselor and cofounder of Divorce Detox, a divorce recovery program for women.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are likely to respond to life-changing events like divorce in ways that prolong the stress and increase the risk for depression. Others say divorced women's quality of life decreases financially because of the need for a clean break from their exes. Lawyer and author Stacy Schneider says women commonly make the big mistake of "wimping out" when it comes to protecting their finances and property and later pay the price. Most divorced women take on additional parenting responsibilities, which also lead to a more challenging daily life.

But there is hope for women who are divorcing. Not only do programs like Divorce Detox and trips to qualified therapists and counselors help, but the experience of divorce can help change a woman's perspective.

"When I went through my divorce I was devastated," says divorced mom "Susan B" in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. "My children were 13 and 15. I had to sell my house and move to another town. My kids had to switch schools. But with all that being said, we are much better off. We have grown to appreciate things a whole lot more. Yes, we struggled, but we are stronger for it today."

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