No one enters marriage with the expectation of divorce. If and when it occurs, however, the woman has certain legal rights that can be enforced.
If a woman enters a marriage with property of her own, and that property has not been disposed of during the period of her marriage, then she has the right to retain it upon a divorce. However, her ex-husband can claim marital interest in her personal real estate if he made mortgage payments or repairs or paid taxes on the property.
When a divorce decree has been handed down, the ex-wife is often awarded a specific monthly amount by her former husband in the form of court-ordered alimony or maintenance. This award can vary from state to state, and can be paid either permanently or temporarily. According to Divorce HQ, the most common form of alimony is rehabilitative. This is paid until the ex-wife can return to work or self-sufficiency.
According to Divorce Source, an ex-wife is entitled to protection from harassment, stalking, intimidation or violence from her former husband. This right can be exercised by means of a restraining order or emergency protection order.
The mother of any children born to a marriage has the right to file for custody, whether full or joint, when that marriage dissolves. In the event that she is not awarded either, she has the right to court-sanctioned visitation privileges with the children.
As divorce laws, including ex-spouses' rights therein, can vary by state, check with either your attorney or the courts in your state to determine your state's requirements.