BW/HARRIS POLL: HE SAID, SHE SAID
Note: This online-only feature is a complete version of the poll that appears in the August 3, 1998, issue of Business Week. THERE'S A PROBLEM Is divorce in America is a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, or not a serious problem at all? Very serious problem 47% Somewhat serious problem 41% Not a serious problem at all 11% Don't know 1% LAWS NEED FIXING Do you believe that current divorce laws make it too hard to get a divorce, make it too easy to get a divorce, or are appropriate as is? Make it too hard to get a divorce 10% Make it too easy to get a divorce 50% Are appropriate as is 33% Don't know 7% WHO WINS? In general, do you believe property settlements in divorce tend to favor the husband, tend to favor the wife, or favor both parties about equally? MEN WOMEN The husband 6% 25% The wife 74% 30% Both parties about equally 13% 21% Don't know 7% 24% POWER TO THE JUDGE In some states, the law requires that marital property be divided evenly. In other states, judges are given discretion to divide property based on what they consider an equitable basis. Do you believe that: MEN WOMEN The law should mandate an equal 31% 29% distribution in all cases Judges should be given discretion 66% 70% to decide, depending on the circumstances of the case Don't know 3% 2% CARVING UP THE PIE In general, how should property be divided in a divorce when one spouse has generated most of the family's wealth? MEN WOMEN Should be divided equally 41% 62% The spouse who generated most 50% 28% of the wealth should receive a larger share Don't know 9% 10% SPLITTING THE BIG ONES How should property be divided if the estate concerned is worth over $10 million? MEN WOMEN Should be divided equally, 34% 49% regardless of how large it is The spouse who generated most of 61% 45% the wealth should receive a larger share, as long as his/her spouse has enough to maintain his/her lifestyle Don't know 5% 6% WHO SHOULD GET WHAT How should each of each of the following assets be divided in a divorce? Should they be split evenly, or should a larger share go to the spouse who earned them directly? SPLIT SPLIT DON'T EVENLY BY EARNINGS KNOW MEN WOMEN MEN WOMEN MEN WOMEN Company stock or stock options 40% 55% 53% 39% 7% 6% Company pension 34% 44% 61% 48% 5% 8% Ownership of a private company 38% 52% 57% 41% 5% 7% WAR OF THE WENDTS Recently, a high-profile divorce case involving Gary Wendt, chief executive of GE Capital, and his wife, Lorna, was tried. Lorna Wendt argued that she was entitled to half the estate, even though she didn't work for pay. Gary Wendt said he was entitled to more than half, as long as Lorna received enough to maintain her lifestyle. Do you tend to: MEN WOMEN Agree with Lorna Wendt 34% 52% Agree with Gary Wendt 62% 43% Don't know 4% 5% PREVALENCE OF PRENUPS If you are married, did you sign a prenuptial agreement before you were married, or not? Signed a prenuptial agreement 3% Did not sign a prenuptial agreement 96% Refused to answer 1% HOW THE ESTATE WAS DIVIDED If you have been divorced, how would you describe the property settlement in your divorce? MEN WOMEN The estate was divided equally 37% 52% I received substantially more of 14% 8% the estate than my spouse My spouse received substantially 46% 36% more of the estate Refused to answer 3% 4% A MATTER OF FAIRNESS Which of the following best characterizes the way you feel about the property settlement in your divorce? MEN WOMEN It was basically fair 56% 54% I received too much 0% 1% My spouse received too much 43% 41% Don't know 1% 4% Online survey of 1,666 adults with households income $100,000 or higher conducted May 1-3, 1998 for Business Week by Louis Harris & Associates Inc. To participate in this and future online polls, go to http://220.127.116.11/bwdiv.htmEdited by Keith H. Hammonds
Updated July 23, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.