While divorce rates have risen over the last 50 years, another surprising change has occurred. Women are filing for divorce in more than two-thirds of the cases in the United States. According to a study published in the American Law and Economics Review, there is even evidence that women are filing for divorce in 90% of the cases among college-educated couples. It is a staggering imbalance.
The consideration of filing for divorce is not an easy decision for anyone, man or woman, but it is interesting to note why it is women who are filing for divorce more often. For men, understanding why women are filing for divorce is a powerful reminder of issues men can resolve. Resolving those issues may prevent the women in their lives from filing for divorce at all. For women who are considering their options, it can be empowering to understand that more women are taking control of their lives by filing for divorce. So why are more women filing for divorce? The following article from About.com sheds some light on the situation.
Why Are Most Divorces Filed by Women?
Question: Why Are Most Divorces Filed by Women?
A generation ago, women were less likely to file for divorce if in an unhappy or abusive marriage. Most were financially dependent on their spouse and feared the social stigma of divorce.
Today women are more likely to have careers of their own, are less financially dependent on their spouse and no longer fear the social stigma of divorce. Women are more educated and more empowered, which keeps them from accepting abuse or a marriage that is not meeting their needs.
Below Are A Few Reasons Why Most Divorces Are Initiated By Women:
Seeking Relief From a Bad Marriage:
A woman’s happiness is no longer tied to whether or not she is married. There was a time when, to be happy, a woman thought she had to be married. Such a mindset led women to believe they were “stuck” in a marriage that had gone bad. Those days are over and most women will file for divorce rather than deal with the stress of a bad marriage.
Some throw in the towel too soon. Some work to find a solution to the problems in their marriage. In the end, if a woman feels she can no longer deal with the constant stress of a bad marriage she will not hesitate to file for a divorce and move on with her life.
Escape Domestic Abuse:
Women are less likely to stay in an abusive marriage today. There was a time when a woman had no choice but to stay. She was financially dependent on her spouse, under his control and had no options for leaving. Today there are many resources for victims of domestic abuse. Shelters, restraining orders and no-fault divorce laws make it easier for a financially dependent wife to escape an abusive marriage.
Fewer Women are Financially Dependent on a Husband:
In today’s society, women are more likely to have their own career. Even stay-at-home moms have college degrees and marketable skills to fall back on should they divorce. Because of financial independence divorce, for women is an easy decision to make to file for divorce.
A career minded woman doesn’t have to worry about how she will support herself after divorce. Due to this, the prospect of divorce causes less anxiety and stress. She is confident in her ability to divorce and move on because she has the power that comes with being financially secure. With money comes security and an unwillingness to stay in an abusive or unhappy marriage.
Women are Less Tolerant of Infidelity:
Due to her financial security and her ability to identify what makes her happy, women’s expectations of their husbands are higher. One of those expectations is fidelity and, today, fewer women are willing to accept infidelity in their marriage.
Instead of being a housewife, today’s wife is an equal partner. Most share the financial burdens of keeping the family together. Most do the majority of the child rearing on top of dealing with the demands of their careers. When a husband cheats, they are less willing to accept such behavior from an “equal partner.” Why should they continue to exert so much effort to maintain the family to only have that investment repaid by infidelity?
Women Want More Out of Marriage:
A generation ago, women wanted to be supported, to become mothers and cheerleaders for their husband’s career. Women were more willing to put their needs on the back burner for the sake of the marriage. Today women are in touch with their needs and want their needs met.
Women want an intimate and emotional connection with their husband. They want communication, togetherness and a husband as driven to meet their needs as they are to meet his needs. The problem? Some men still view their wives as “the little woman” and fewer and fewer women are willing to be put in such a role.
Women Lose Their Identity:
Some wives spend so much time focused on raising children, helping their husband further his career and putting their needs last that they lose sight of who they are and what they want out of life.
It is not unusual for a woman to hit middle age and go into a midlife crisis. She will begin to question the life she has led and wonder, “Is that all there is?” She may file for a divorce in order to explore life on her own in the hope of finding out who she is and what she wants out of life.
There are a myriad of reasons a woman will file for divorce. Whether it is to seek her own happiness, escape from an abusive marriage or midlife crisis the one thing most who divorce have in common is a new sense of empowerment. Women view themselves as equal to men and for some marriage takes away that power instead of promoting it.
For any women who are filing for divorce, it is very important to make sure that they have a good idea of where they stand financially before they file. This is true of both women who work outside the home and women who stay at home. Understanding the finances will ensure that the equitable distribution of marital assets truly is equitable. It will also help in creating a post-divorce budget so women who are filing for divorce will have a realistic idea of what should be asked for in a settlement.
As you can see, the fact that women are filing for divorce more often is often attributed to a stronger sense of self-worth and a demand to have the sort of relationships they truly want and deserve. Knowing this, communication is the key in any relationship. A husband needs to be made aware of a wife’s dissatisfaction so he has the opportunity to improve the relationship. Even if divorce is still the outcome, the proceedings are generally more amicable if both parties have made good-faith efforts to prevent reaching that point.
Of course the stress of all of these matters can be alleviated with the help of a legal expert. The attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo in Worcester, Massachusetts, understand the complexities of emotions and logistics involved in dissolving a marriage. If you’re considering divorce, contact us to help ensure that the process is as efficient and fair as possible.