Women in the UK are considerably more likely to file for divorce than men according to numbers published by the Office for National Statistics. 2011 statistics produced by the public body reveal that it is women who bring divorce proceedings in nearly 70% of cases and the figure has in fact been even higher in the past.
Determining the reason for this trend is fairly straightforward, as divorces can only be granted on five grounds by courts in England and Wales, these being: adultery; unreasonable behaviour, desertion and separation with or without the other spouse’s consent. To the surprise of many, unfaithful wives are the cause of divorce slightly more commonly than unfaithful husbands.
The statistics obtained from the ONS also show that unreasonable behaviour – a broad category encompassing additions to alcohol and gambling as well as abusive behaviour – is cited in over half of the divorces awarded to women.
Whilst the ONS is a reliable source of information, an experienced divorce solicitor is wise enough to know that these figures rarely paint an accurate picture. During my time as a family law solicitor I was committed to ensuring that acrimony and distress was kept to a minimum in any divorce case I handled. Indeed, this is thankfully an attitude which is increasingly being held by solicitors across the country.
As a result of this firm belief, I always sought to keep the number of grounds for divorce down. For example, citing unreasonable behaviour tends to be a better approach than citing adultery and when specifying the type of unreasonable behaviour, it is sensible to cite a mild form which the local courts will happily accept but which will not upset the other party involved. Divorce petitions which are overly accusing in nature will only serve to cause argument and so, even where serious claims are involved, it is wise to use less harsh terms. This helps to take some of the sting out of divorce and means that neither party is put on the defensive from the get-go. Indeed, I would often try to get the two parties to agree on the wording used for the divorce petitions prior to submitting it.
The ONS numbers do however show that men have a strong basis for believing that they may only get to see their children rarely following divorce. Four fifths of children with divorced parents do not have any form of residency at their father’s house. Furthermore, men have been found to be particularly concerned about the financial implications of divorce, regardless of how much money they earn.
Women have also been found to be fearful about the financial implications of divorce with Cambridge University statisticians finding that the income of divorced women drops by a third on average following divorce. Women are also often concerned about raising children on their own and finding employment.
Bonallack & Bishop – highly experienced family law experts
The solicitors at Bonallack & Bishop have the expertise and experience needed to help you with your divorce and we understand the importance of reducing the stress and bitterness involved in proceedings as much as possible.
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