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6 Reasons Women are More Likely to Initiate Divorce in Texas

Sophia Merton
October 6, 2023

Did you know that women are more likely to initiate divorce in Texas and in the United States as a whole?

In fact, the numbers are pretty remarkable when you take a closer look. Nearly 70% of divorces are initiated by women in the U.S., while a little over 30% of divorces are filed by men.

The reasons that women tend to file for divorce more than men are multifaceted and complex. However, there are some patterns and trends we can identify. For example, women are more likely to be financially independent these days and also tend to have a larger support network than men. Both of these reasons make it more possible than it was in the past for them to feel confident in their decision to transition out of a marriage.

Stick with us while we explore in greater depth the six primary reasons that women are more likely to file for divorce than men.

Who Files for Divorce in the U.S. More- Men or Women?

According to a study from the American Sociological Association, the majority of divorces in the U.S. are initiated by women. This research found that more than two-thirds of divorces were pursued first by wives rather than their husbands.

Divorces have become significantly easier to get in the U.S. since no-fault divorces were legalized. At this point, you can now file for divorce in all U.S. states without needing to claim specific grounds for divorce beyond incompatibility or insupportability.

What Percentage of Divorces Are Initiated by Women?

Roughly 69% of all divorces in the U.S. are filed by women, according to a study from Standford University that looked at roughly 2000 couples.

Interestingly, the sex of the person who ended unmarried relationships was found to not be significantly weighed towards women or men.

What Percentage of Divorces Are Initiated by Men?

Though women are responsible for initiating most of the divorces in the U.S., about 29-30% of divorces are filed by men.

There are a number of commonly cited reasons that men are less inclined to file for divorce, including:

  • Financial concerns: Men may be concerned about the financial implications of divorce, including potential alimony and child support payments. This can be particularly relevant if they are the primary earners in the family. They also might be worried about what will happen to their assets in the divorce process.
  • Fear of losing access to children: Some men may worry about losing access to their children in divorce proceedings. Historically, custody arrangements often favored mothers, although modern family courts generally aim for more equitable custody arrangements.
  • Traditional gender roles: Historically, traditional gender roles have often placed men in the role of the primary breadwinner, while women were responsible for caregiving and homemaking. Men may have felt a stronger sense of obligation to provide for their families, which could make them more reluctant to initiate divorce.
  • Social stigma: In some cultures or communities, there may still be a stigma associated with men who initiate divorce. Men might fear judgment or social backlash for ending a marriage, especially if they perceive that they are expected to be the "strong" or "stoic" partner.

Why Are Women More Likely to Initiate Divorce in Texas?

So, why is it that women are much more likely to be the ones to file the initial divorce paperwork in Texas? Of course, it's important to remember that every situation is unique, and many women might be driven to file for divorce for a complex collection of reasons.

That being said, there are certainly some common threads that can be identified when it comes to the reasons that women choose to end their marriages more often than men do.

1. Increased Financial Independence

In the past, it was common for men to be the breadwinners of the family, and women would stay home and be homemakers. This often left women in a position where getting divorced could mean they would struggle to find a way to support themselves financially.

financially independent woman working thinking about divorce in texas

In recent years, women have become more financially independent, often having their own careers and sources of income. This financial autonomy can make women more willing and able to initiate divorce, as they may not feel as financially dependent on their spouses.

2. Feelings of Unfulfillment or Work-Life Imbalance

Feelings of unfulfillment and work-life imbalance are significant factors that can contribute to women being more likely to initiate divorce. These emotions and challenges can erode the foundation of a marriage and motivate women to seek a different path.

woman cleaning house after day job in texas divorce

Women, just like men, enter marriages with hopes and expectations for a fulfilling partnership. When they perceive that their emotional, social, or intellectual needs are not being met, they may begin to consider divorce. Feelings of loneliness, emotional distance, and a lack of intimacy can create a sense of unfulfillment that leads women to seek a change in their relationship status.

Furthermore, women might feel that they are unable to manage both career and family responsibilities. If they perceive that they are managing all of the household and caregiving responsibilities while also working a full-time job, they might feel that there is an imbalance in the marriage that cannot be reconciled.

3. Greater Social Support

Women often have stronger social support networks, including friends, family, and professionals, who may encourage them to seek divorce if they are in an unhappy marriage.

woman with support system during texas divorce

What this means is that women are much more likely to have more help regarding their decision to get divorced, as well as support through the divorce process. Having a support network to help them through the transition can make them more likely to be willing to take on this life-changing task.

Ultimately, women might feel more confident that they will be okay if they end their marriage due to having a stronger circle of support. Remarkably, an individual's chance of getting divorced actually increases by 75% if they have a close friend who gets divorced.

4. Response to Unfaithfulness

One recent survey found that 35% of women (in a sample size of 212 women and 189 men) primarily initiated divorce due to their husband's infidelity.

Men are slightly more likely to commit adultery than women, according to some studies, with 20% of men reporting having engaged in sexual relations with someone who wasn't their spouse during their marriage. Only 13% of women reported having cheated on their spouse while married.

If women discover that their spouses are involved in extramarital affairs, they may be more inclined to initiate divorce due to feelings of betrayal and mistrust. Some might file for divorce after finding out about one instance of adultery, while others might be driven to divorce when they find that their husband has been repeatedly unfaithful.
Other studies have found, to the contrary, that women are actually more likely to cheat than men. Though it isn't commonly mentioned in research, it is possible that another reason that women initiate divorce, in some cases, is because they met someone new that they want to begin a relationship with.

5. Response to Drug and Alcohol Addiction

When one spouse has a problem with alcohol, it can put a serious strain on a marriage. According to a report from the NSDUH, 16.3 million adult men reported having a drinking problem in the previous year. Only 12.4 million adult women reported experiencing alcohol abuse issues.

man with drinking problem in texas divorce filed by wife

Alcoholism and drug addiction can be significantly injurious to trust in one's marriage. Furthermore, it can seriously impact an individual's ability to earn a steady income, which can put further strain on the marriage.

Considering that men are more likely than women to use pretty much every type of illicit drug and have alcohol abuse issues, it isn't surprising that it would be more common for women to initiate divorce for this reason than men.

6. Response to Domestic Violence

24% of divorces, according to a survey published in the National Library of Medicine, are initiated due to physical or emotional violence in the marriage. While both men and women can be the victims of this type of abuse, women are more commonly victims of domestic violence in marriage.

In cases of domestic violence or abuse, women are more likely to initiate divorce as a means of escaping a dangerous or harmful situation.

Several studies have found that women are more likely to cite abuse as their primary reason for filing for divorce than men. In fact, one found that women are 44% more likely to get divorced for this reason.

Knowledge Is Power in a Texas Divorce

Understanding why women are more likely to initiate divorce than men in Texas can help you expand your knowledge about the divorce process in general. If you are considering getting divorced, learning that women are driven to divorce due to greater financial independence and having large social support networks, for example, could be useful info to add to the pot when you're thinking about whether it's time to end your own marriage.

Are you interested in increasing your family law literacy to help you prepare for a divorce in Texas? If so, make sure you check out our Texas Divorce Laws blog for more resources!

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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