A study entitled "How Couples Meet and Stay Together" determined that women were more likely to ask for a divorce. However, if a couple was living together and not married, each gender was just as likely to ask to end the relationship. Researchers asked 2,262 adults about their relationship status between 2009 and 2015 and found that 69 percent of married women initiated divorce proceedings compared to 31 percent of men. The results of the study were discussed at a meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Although researchers have long known that women initiated most divorces, they were surprised to see that this was not the case in non-marital relationships. However, they suspect that the lack of traditional gender roles in non-marital relationships may explain this result. When a couple is married, husbands may expect their wives to take their surname and spend more time taking care of the kids.
As opposed to the traditions and spousal roles that come with marriage, non-marital relationships seem to be more flexible. Each partner is seen as an equal, which is a reflection of the growing acceptance of gender equality in society. Without the historical baggage related to marriage, each person in the relationship is free to define a role that works best.
A person who is facing the end of a marriage may wish to talk to an attorney prior to finalizing a divorce settlement agreement. It may be possible for legal counsel to assist a client in getting all that he or she is entitled to under state divorce laws. This could mean receiving a larger share of marital assets, child custody and support or spousal support.