Prevalence of Women Filing for Divorce Over Men

Research Indicates a Higher Likelihood of Women Initiating Divorce Proceedings. Delve into Potential Reasons Behind This Trend in NJ and Across the Nation

Prevalence of Women Filing for Divorce Over Men in New JerseyAccording to Forbes’s “Revealing Divorce Statistics in 2024,” more than half of first-time marriages in the United States end in divorce. However, the rate is higher for subsequent marriages. Nevada has the highest divorce rate, with 4.2 divorces out of 1,000 marriages. Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate, with one per 1,000 marriages, probably because the residents marry later. New Jersey has 2.2 divorces per 1,000, and about 70% of all divorces are initiated by women in opposite-sex marriages.

Does it Matter if a Woman Initiates a Divorce?

While who files first does not matter in getting a divorce, it does have advantages in the divorce proceeding. For instance, the first to file can be the time when the divorce occurs, and so can prepare for it psychologically and financially. The other spouse has a time limit for responding to the divorce petition. With time to plan, the petitioner, the first to file, can budget for divorce costs and prevent the other spouse from using credit cards or hiding marital assets. Once the divorce is filed, an automatic stay orders both parties to incur only ordinary expenses, in other words, to keep the status quo.

Other advantages include the choice of jurisdiction when there is more than one possible venue for the divorce. The one who files the petition gets to choose the court where it is filed, most probably the closest to their residence. Additionally, the petitioner gets to present their case first, including which witnesses will testify and in what order.

The Driving Forces Behind Women Initiating Divorce

The likeliest person to file first is the woman. Several reasons for women filing for divorce exist, among them being more opportunity for financial independence, the ease of getting one in the age of no-fault divorces, an intolerance for her spouse’s bad behavior, and the unequal division of labor and emotional responsibility. There may be other reasons, but these are most prevalent.

Though women are no longer dependent on men legally and financially, the fact that they can and do work to contribute financially to the household has not bought them an advantage in the typical marriage. Historically, women’s domain was maintaining the household, while the men went out and earned the money. Today, many women work full or part-time, just as their mates do, but they still take on the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities, like cleaning, shopping, cooking, and childrearing. Though some men help with chores and childrearing, most do not. So, when women feel unsupported, they may think they are better off leaving the marriage.

Why Communication Styles Lead Women to Divorce

Another reason for discontent is the disparity in communication skills. Men and women are socialized differently when it comes to expressing and communicating their emotions. Girls are encouraged to express their emotions, while boys are not. As such, men may not express their emotions in healthy ways or articulate their problems. The result is that women bear most, if not all, of the emotional responsibility at home. Keeping the family safe and emotionally balanced by herself and taking on the physical maintenance, too, a woman may feel alone and resentful over time.

How Options Empower Women to Leave Abuse

Finally, women today do not have to put up with what they did as wives just one hundred years ago when they had no right to vote or enter contracts. They had to endure abuse, domestic violence, and infidelity. They had no choice. Today, they have options and resources to help them escape domestic abuse and other intolerable behaviors.

Financial Realities of Divorce for Women

Thus, when the wife files for divorce, she gets to tell her story to the judge first. She can present evidence of her primary childrearing responsibilities on top of her job responsibilities. As the one who cooks, cleans, and transports the children to school and attends their parent-teacher conferences and sporting events, she may be awarded the primary custodial parent in a divorce.

Since women still earn less than men in general, they may receive spousal support and child support to maintain the household. They may even stay in the family residence while the husband lives elsewhere and pays support. Every divorce and marital situation is unique, so this outcome may not be accurate in all divorces. Some couples may be unable to maintain two households on the incomes of the parties.

However, in an equitable division of marital assets, a judge may award more assets to the wife who has historically worked part-time to take care of the household and children when income does not cover support that would allow the wife to continue working and caring for the children as she did during the marriage.

Moreover, the larger the disparity between the parties’ incomes, the likelier the wife will get alimony to support her in the lifestyle she enjoyed while married. She may get more marital assets in a settlement agreement when the payor spouse does not have disposable income but unliquidated assets.

Women, Divorce, and Why Options Matter in New Jersey

Contact our Seasoned Lawyers to Provide Assistance with the Divorce Process in Passaic County, NJ

Regardless of who files first, a divorce is a complex affair requiring expertise in the law and legal counsel for distraught spouses about their options and strategies to obtain what they need from a divorce. Our skilled divorce attorneys at The Montanari Law Group can assist you with gathering important financial information and other documentary evidence, assembling witnesses, and preparing mentally for the challenges divorce brings.

We will attempt to resolve differences between the parties regarding child custody, spousal support, and division of assets and debts. Barring a complete settlement, our family lawyers are experienced in divorce litigation, and we can represent you in your litigated divorce proceedings, from filing the divorce complaint to conducting a trial. At a time when you need help most, you can rely on our talented legal team to guide you.

Contact us today at (973) 233-4396 for a free consultation and additional guidance about when and how to proceed with your divorce case in Woodland Park, Little Falls, Paterson, Caldwell, Wanaque, Hackensack, Essex Fells, Livingston, Totowa, and elsewhere in Northern New Jersey.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.