Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why are most divorces filled by women and other divorce myths

Sometimes I am confused that a statistic I used myself and read about can not be found on this blog. So there is a nice NYT article on an interesting study:

Across America, at least two-thirds of divorce suits are filed by women. Researchers who have interviewed divorcing couples have repeatedly found that, in cases where the divorce is not mutally desired, women are more than twice as likely to be the ones who want out. After the split, women are typically happier than their exes.

This trend has inspired what is probably the first paper in the American Journal of Law and Economics ever to be named after a Nancy Sinatra song. In "These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women," Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas Allen, both economists, analyze all 46,000 divorces filed in one year, 1995, in four different states: Connecticut, Virginia, Montana and Oregon.

They looked for different reasons that would prompt a woman to file for divorce. One would be to escape an abusive husband -- like a man who is adulterous or violent. But in the state with the best records of grievances, Virginia, only 6 percent of divorces were granted on grounds of violence, and husbands were cited for adultery only slightly more often than wives.

"Some women file for divorce because they're exploited in really bad marriages," said Dr. Brinig, a professor of law at the University of Iowa. "But it seems to be a relatively small number, probably less than 20 percent of the cases."

[...]"The question of custody absolutely swamps all the other variables," Dr. Brinig said. "Children are the most important asset in a marriage, and the partner who expects to get sole custody is by far the most likely to file for divorce."


And while we are at it, there was a nice collection of data on Glenn's blog:

“Two‑thirds or more of all divorces involving couples with children are initiated by mothers, not fathers.”

Source: Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas A. Allen, "'These Boots Are Made For Walking": Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women" American Law and Economics Review 2‑1 (2000): 126‑169.

Source: John Tierney, "A New Look at the Realities of Divorce," New York Times, July 11, 2000.

Source: Sanford Braver, Marnie Whitley, and Christine Ng, "Who Divorced Whom? Methodological and Theoretical Issues," Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 20, 1993, p. 1.

Source: Cathy Young, "The Sadness of the American Father," The American Spectator, June 2000. See http://fact.on.ca/news/news0006/as000601.htm.

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“A randomized study of 46,000 divorce cases published in the American Law and Economics Review found that in only 6% of cases women claimed to be divorcing cruel or abusive husbands, and that adultery was cited by women as a cause of divorce only slightly more than by men. Surveys of divorced couples show that the reasons for their divorces are generally a lack of closeness or of "not feeling loved and appreciated."

Source: Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas A. Allen, “These Boots Are Made For Walking": Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women" American Law and Economics Review 2-1 (2000): 126-169.

Source: John Tierney, "A New Look at the Realities of Divorce," New York Times, July 11, 2000.

Source: Beuhler, "Whose Decision Was It?" Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 48, pp 587 - 595, 1987.

Source: Cathy Young, "The Sadness of the American Father," The American Spectator, June 2000. See http://fact.on.ca/news/news0006/as000601.htm.

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“There are almost as many unfaithful wives as there are unfaithful husbands. Research generally estimates that for every five unfaithful husbands, there are four unfaithful wives.”

Source: Maggie Scarf, “Intimate Partners: An examination of the underlying architecture of love relationships—the influence of the past, the causes of infidelity, and the systems that couples create,” The Atlantic Monthly, November 1986. The article can be viewed here. Look for “Emotional Triangles: Infidelity.”

Source: John Przybys, “Unfaithfully Yours: Men, women have differing ideas about fidelity,” Las Vegas Review‑Journal, March 29, 1998. The article can be found here. Look for “Paul Wulkan.”

Source: Jennifer P. Schneider, Richard R. Irons, and M. Deborah Corley, “Disclosure of Extramarital Sexual Activities by Sexually Exploitative Professionals and Other Persons with Addictive or Compulsive Sexual Disorders,” Journal of Sex Education and Therapy 24:277‑287, 1999. The article can be found here. Search in the text for the word “infidelity.”

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The vast majority of accusations of child sexual abuse made during custody battles are false, unfounded or unsubstantiated. Source: Douglas J. Besharov and Lisa A. Laumann, "Child Abuse Reporting,” Social Science and Modern Society, Vol. 33, May/June, 1996, p. 42.

Source: Blush, Gordon & Ross, Karol, 1986, The SAID Syndrome. Sterling Heights, MI: Family and Conciliation Courts Review.

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Nationwide divorced fathers are ten times as likely to commit suicide as divorced mothers, and more than twice as likely to commit suicide as married fathers.

Source for divorced fathers vs. married fathers: Augustine J. Kposowa, Ph.D., "Marital Status and Suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study," Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, March, 2000, Volume 54, No. 4, pages 254‑261 See http://wizard.ucr.edu/~akposowa/Status.pdf. Search for "divorced men."

Source for "10 times as likely" is Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion: How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love, Penguin Putnam Inc, 2001, pg. 174 & 279.

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"Men win custody in only 10% of contested custody cases"
(Note: To avoid confusion: the sources below do not all indicate 10%--some indicate 15 or 20%, some indicate less than 5%. As a whole, the average is around 10%.)

Source: Eleanor E. Maccoby and Robert H. Mnookin, Dividing the Child (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 104-105, 149-150.

Source: Stephen J. Bahr, J.D. Howe, M. Morrill Mann, "Trends in Custody Awards: Has the Removal of Maternal Preference Made a Difference?", Family Law Quarterly, Vol, pp. 247-267, Summer 1994.

Source: Wendy Reiboldt and Sharon Seiling, "Factors Related to Men's Award of Custody," Family Advocate, Winter 1993, pp. 42-44. Published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Source: William T. K. Dolan, Esq., Empirical Study of Child Custody in Divorce Decrees in Arlington County, Virginia: July 1, 1989--December 30, 1990, © 1991.

Source: Rich Blake, "Father Says System is Unfair to Men in Custody Battles," Alexander (VA) Gazette Packet, October 22, 1992 .

Source: Robert Seidenberg, The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, JES Books, 1997, pp. 11-15, 60-61.

John P. McCahey, J.D., LL.M, et al., Child Custody and Visitation Law and Practice. Matthew Bender, New York. Volume 3, 1983, Section 13.01.

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The commonly cited factoid that “men win custody half of the time or more when they contest it” is a myth.

Source: "Do fathers have the edge in divorce?," Cathy Young, Detroit News, December 10, 1996. See: http://www.vix.com/menmag/youngdet.htm.

Source: Robert Seidenberg, The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, JES Books, 1997, pp. 11-15, 60-61.

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