Women are more likely to divorce than men: that is the finding of a 2015 study by the American Sociological Association and the conclusion that can be drawn from the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. In fact, this is a not a new phenomenon, with statistics having consistently demonstrated that women are more likely to be the spouse initiating divorce.
But why is this?
Marriages may deteriorate for a wide variety reasons. Though one party may claim that a divorce came out of the blue, it has often been preceded by months of dissatisfaction and unhappiness and emotional withdrawal from one another. In this situation, men tend to be more complacent and willing to let the marriage limp by, in some cases not even aware of the truly dire straits of their relationships. However, unlike their male counterparts, women tend to be more finely attuned to these emotional changes and less willing to let the marriage drag on, instead facing up to these issues and calling time on the marriage.
According to Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, “marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality”. Indeed, despite leaps forward being made for gender equality in other areas, the practice of changing one’s surname to that of one’s husband remains, as does the fact that women still do the majority of household chores, even where both parties work full-time jobs. Coupled with the fact that some husbands may feel intimidated by the professional advancement of their wives, it is no wonder that women may come to the conclusion that a marriage is holding them back. So long as certain gendered stereotypes continue to abound within the institution of marriage, women may feel that it is not worth the effort it requires.
Gone are the days where a women relied solely upon her husband to financially support and provide for her. Instead, women are making their way up the career ladder and becoming generally shrewder with their finances. Divorce now presents itself not as an impossibility but as a realistic option - women have their own means of living post-divorce and can afford to get divorced where a marriage is simply not working for them. At the same time, husbands have the common misconception that they will fare worse on a divorce, fearing the financial consequences, and are therefore less inclined to initiate proceedings.
Ultimately, there may be any number of reasons why time is called on a marriage. However, if divorce is a possible option on the cards, the key to ensuring that the best possible result is achieved, both for yourself and your family, is to instruct a firm of solicitors that understands your situation and needs and will work tirelessly to assist you.
Vardags is a leading family law firm for high-net worth individuals which offers a premium service to assist with all of your matrimonial law matters.