The economic consequences of divorce and separation for women are commonly associated with the chronic strain model, according to which women's losses are large and persistent. This research note shifts the focus to a crisis model highlighting women's potential of, and routes to, recovery from initial losses. Drawing on German Socio-Economic Panel data (1984–2021) on women in marital and cohabiting unions (N ∼ 27,000 women, N ∼ 3,400 divorces and separations), we use fixed-effects regression models and event-history models to analyze changes in equivalized monthly household income and poverty risk across the process of divorce and separation. Results show that most women recovered from their initial economic declines. Although initial losses were common and often sizable, large fractions of women eventually returned to or exceeded the household income expected in the absence of divorce and separation. Recovery was facilitated by the “traditional” route of repartnering and the “modern” route of women mobilizing their productive skills. Both routes appeared more important than the absence of barriers, such as children in the household. We conclude that for the majority of women, the economic consequences of divorce and separation are better described as a temporary crisis than as a chronic strain.

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