Another important area for future research is quantitative and qualitative research that considers a deeper description of households’ financial situations. Including financial assets such as the house, bank accounts, and pensions, as well as individual circumstances such as unemployment, and medical issues into analyses may provide a more accurate picture of male and female post-divorce financial situations. A more accurate picture of household financial situations may inform public policy regarding the implementation of strategies that use formulas to allocate income, or other future policy decisions.
Some questions to consider include, how does the allocation of other property besides money income influence male/female, custodial/non-custodial financial circumstances? How do individual circumstances influence the fairness of allocating income to households, based on their type of circumstance? Are different strategies more fair or equitable for some circumstance than others? If a formula-based system was adopted in which a formula was used to allocate incomes to post-divorce households, how can legal decisions protect families with unusual circumstances?
Future research should also explore financial circumstances in the years following divorce. The current study only investigated households’ financial circumstance at divorce because only income information at the time of divorce was available in court records. The strategies discussed in the current research have different time stipulations for how long households should share income post-divorce. Some strategies extend for longer time periods than others.
Time considerations of each strategy will greatly impact the households’ future financial circumstances, and should be an important consideration for future research. Findings in the current research, that males’ income-to-needs ratios are statistically higher than females’, and that the actual court order allocated the second highest mean male income-to-needs ratios and lowest female income-to-needs ratios, suggest that future research should continue to explore fairness and equity issues in allocating income after divorce.
Future research may explore the distributive procedures in the current system, and explore where, how, and why current outcomes are determined. For example, are the judges making the allocations or are the distributions already decided in the marital termination agreement? How are the distributions in the marital termination agreement determined? Do the outcomes depend on whether the parties were represented by an attorney? Particular attention in future research should be paid to divorcing couples who come from higher income brackets, as well as custodians in lower income brackets.
Researchers might explore creating strategies/formulas that use a marital duration factor, since the Maricopa formula produced more equitable income-to-needs ratios for couple who had been married the longest. Researchers may also find a way to improve the equity for couples in shorter marriages through altering the strategies/formulas. Future research should explore Singer’s formula in greater depth because it produced the highest degree of income adequacy as well as the most equitable income-to-needs ratios.
What would be the implications of including a child support award with Singer’s formula on income adequacy and the equity of income-to-needs ratios? Future research should explore the possibility of combining the formulas from different strategies explored in the current research. Perhaps a combination of different strategies/formulas may produce equitable post-divorce income-to-needs ratios, as well as account for the financial care of children.