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Women apply for divorce more than men, study confirms

Women apply for divorce significantly more often than men, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in India examined the number of divorce cases heard by the family court in a suburb of Mumbai during 2013. They found that 70 per cent of divorce petitions were filed by women.

The TISS study also found that 86 per cent of these cases were settled in less than six months. Sujata Chavan is a women’s studies professor at TISS and the study’s lead researcher. She said that one of the things which prompted the study was the notion that women “delay divorce cases on some pretext or other”. However, this was not borne out by the results. Settlements were quickly reached in many cases which could potentially be dragged out, such as property disputes, child custody issues and maintenance.

Professor Chavan said that women have a “holistic approach towards relationships as well as separation” which makes it relatively easy to come to a settlement during a divorce.

The research found that the majority of divorcing couples were aged between 25 and 35. This is significantly younger than in Britain. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the average age at which people get a divorce was 45 for men and 42 for women.

According to ONS, divorces in the UK have a similar gender divide to those recorded in the TISS study. Of the 118,140 divorces in England and Wales in 2012, 65 per cent were initiated by women.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    That has been the ratio, year on year, since 1923 when the grounds of divorce were equalised for the genders. Since the Divorce Reform Act 1969 men have issued more adultery petitions than women and women more behaviour petitions than men; draw your own conclusions!

    There was also a rush of five-year petitions when the Act of 1969 became law in 1971 – which is not surprising.

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