Contrary to our fairy-tale expectations of living ‘happily ever after’, we can all see that divorce is affecting an increasing number of couples. Looking more closely into this, we ask who exactly is filing for divorce?
The Office of National Statistics revealed that in 2011, 66% of those filing for divorce were women, with reasons generally being their ex-husband’s infidelity, his alcohol abuse, him spending too much time in work and addictions such as gambling. However, when it comes to infidelity, it appears that women are just as bad, with the number of infidelity-provoked divorces caused by an equal number of cheating men and women.
Women’s initiation of divorce may be due to social changes and expectations towards women. With an increasing number of women in high-powered positions, women may be more independent and confident to continue life without their ex-partner, as well as being less reliant on their ex-partner’s income.
Another reason women may be increasingly proactive about divorce could be because in the English Courts, especially when children are involved, the odds are in their favour. One of the greatest fears of a married man is losing their children, and indeed, over 80% of children of separated parents mainly reside with their mother. British Courts can award ex-wives maintenance for life, whilst some European jurisdictions limit post-marital financial support for only a handful of years.
Despite the rising number of women opting for divorce, splits are no easy ride for the ladies. Single parenthood, re-entering the job market, recovering from an abusive partner- and that is all before financial fears kick in. As shown by a study from Cambridge University, women’s per capita income drops by an average of 31% immediately following divorce.
Of course, it is no plain sailing for either gender, and getting professional, experienced guidance is a key part of a smoother ride out of a hellish relationship.