Women Are Most Likely To Initiate Divorces In U.S.

According to a 2020 study by the Pew Research Center, women initiated 69% of divorces in the United States. This has been the case for decades, and the trend is only expected to continue. According to Lawrence Datz, a Jacksonville attorney who has been in the family law practice for 40 years, there are a number of reasons for women seeking this change. Some of the major reasons include…

  • No-Fault Divorce: Florida became a “no-fault” divorce state in 1971 joining a trend among a majority of states around the country at the time. “No-Fault” means that one may divorce on the simple subjective ground that his or her marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Prior to no-fault divorce, “fault-based” grounds included such circumstances as abandonment, adultery, cruelty, and intemperance, which were often difficult or expensive to prove. For example, if a spouse was committing adultery and would not agree to a divorce, the aggrieved spouse would have to prove the adulterous relationship perhaps with a movie camera and by catching the offending spouse in the act. If a wife committed adultery, she would not be entitled to alimony which was especially harsh since most women did not work outside the home. By modern standards, one may much more easily pursue a divorce. Compared to the times of fault-based divorces and other changes in the law, a woman today have much greater and more secure rights.

  • Economic independence: In the past, women were more likely to be economically dependent on their husbands, which made them less likely to initiate divorce. However, in recent decades, more women have become economically independent, which has given them more financial freedom and security. This has made them more likely to leave unhappy marriages.

  • Changing gender roles: Traditional gender roles have also played a role in why women initiate divorce more than men. In the past, men were typically the breadwinners and women were the caregivers. However, these roles have been changing in recent decades, with more women entering the workforce and more men becoming caregivers for children. This has led to more conflict in marriages, as couples struggle to adjust to these new roles.

  • Domestic violence: Domestic violence is another major reason why women initiate divorce. Studies show that women are more likely than men to be victims of domestic violence. Although the legal definition of domestic violence is largely, though not completely, limited to acts or threats of physical violence, a broader definition also includes emotional and financial abuse. When women are subjected to domestic violence, they are more likely to leave their marriages in order to protect themselves and their children.

  • Unhappy marriages: Simply put, women are more likely than men to be unhappy in their marriages. Studies show that women are more likely to be unhappy in their marriages, and they are also more likely to say they would like to get a divorce. This unhappiness can be caused by a variety of factors, including financial problems, infidelity and communication issues.

Importantly, one should note these are just some of the reasons why women initiate divorce more than men. Many other factors contribute to divorce, and each individual case is different. And while the reasons listed above are some of the most common reasons why women decide to end their marriages, a few other factors may contribute to why women initiate divorce more than men. These include:

  1. Lack of social support: Women are more likely than men to lack social support from their friends and family making it more difficult for them to cope with the challenges of divorce. The lack of or minimal support, also can make them feel more isolated and alone.

  2. Childcare responsibilities: Women are more likely than men to be the primary caregivers for their children. This can make it more difficult for them to leave their marriages, as they may worry about how they will manage childcare and other parental responsibilities on their own.

  3. Financial constraints: Women are more likely than men to live in poverty after divorce leading to difficulties for them to support themselves and their children and to rebuild their lives.

Despite these challenges, many women who initiate divorce go on to live happy and fulfilling lives. They find new partners, build successful careers, and raise happy and healthy children. Divorce can be a difficult experience, but it can also be a new beginning.