Who Initiates Divorce More Often—Men or Women?

by Norris Law Group on September 10, 2014

Who Initiates Divorce More Often—Men or Women?Gad Saad, Ph.D., a Professor of Marketing at Concordia University (Canada) dedicates this research to human behavior from an evolutionary perspective. In his work, Dr. Saad has found that women have a much better “track record” than men when it comes to choosing a partner for a successful marriage. But who decides to end a marriage and seek a divorce more often? Dr. Saad has also studied this, and provides some answers in an article for Psychology Today.

Saad cites a paper published in the professional journal American Law and Economics Review written by Margaret Brinig (University of Iowa College of Law) and Douglas Allen (Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University) published in the journal American Law and Economics Review. In their paper, Brinig & Allen look at a number of studies done in the US from 1867 to 1995. The studies all examine cases in which a woman chose to file for divorce. These studies showed that almost 70% of the time, women initiated divorce. Men asked for a divorce in only one of the 25 individual datasets studied.

Saad says that these results may be somewhat surprising, especially in light of the economic and social changes that women experienced collectively between 1867 and 1995. He also says that Brinig & Allen make strong arguments as to why women ask to end their marriages more often, including:

  • Self-interest (“I’ll be better off” if my marriage ends);
  • Assets or benefits may be gained through divorce (a house, money to further one’s education, etc.);
  • One party has felt exploited in some way throughout the course of the marriage; or
  • One party is guilty of some “bad action” (adultery, malfeasance, cruelty, etc.).

These reasons for divorce, combined with the fact that Brining & Allen looked at divorces over more than 100 years, may support the old adage that “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County, UT and throughout Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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