Women Initiate Divorce Proceedings More Frequently Than Men

In a research study commissioned by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), a randomly selected and nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 Americans between the ages of 40 and 79 answered a survey about divorce. The final analysis was based on answers of participants who had been divorced between the ages of 40 and 69. The survey discovered the following:

  • 66 percent of women said they requested the divorce.

  • 41 percent of the men said they requested divorce.

  • A small percentage (18 percent of men and 12 percent of women) said they both decided on divorce.

  • 73 percent of victims of physical or verbal abuse and of alcohol or drug abuse requested the divorce.

  • Victims of abuse spent less time considering divorce before taking divorce actions than non-victims.

  • 26 percent of men were surprised to learn of their wife’s desire for divorce.

  • 14 percent of women were surprised to learn of their husband’s desire for divorce.

  • 32 percent of spouses contemplated divorce for less than a year before taking action.

  • 17 percent of spouses delayed divorce for five years or longer.

  • Children were the major reason for delaying divorce.

  • Finances were the next most common reason for divorce delays.

  • More women (58 percent) stayed married than men (37 percent) because of their children.

  • More women (27 percent) than men (6 percent) prepared financially for divorce.

After divorce, women typically suffer greater financial difficulties than men. Even so, more women want to divorce than men, and the reasons they most commonly give are:

  • Verbal, physical or emotional abuse (34 percent)

  • Lifestyle and value differences (29 percent)

  • Cheating (27 percent)

  • Falling out of love for no obvious reasons (24 percent)

Based on U.S. Census Bureau 2009 estimates, the divorce rate in Colorado was 4.2 percent. By comparison, Arkansas (5.7) and Nevada (6.7) were in the top range, and the state with the lowest divorce rate was Iowa (2.4).


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