Is there bias against men in divorce?
First published Jan 2015
Many articles online look at how women and children are affected by the divorce process – but what about the men? Statistics show that divorce is typically initiated more by women than men, so why is this?
Is it that men are at fault more than women? Are men less likely to do something about it if they are in an unhappy relationship?
In this article, we will look to address these questions and also offer some guidance to men going through divorce or separation.
Grounds for divorce
Many people assume that of the five grounds for divorce, men would be most guilty of adultery. However, this is not always the case. Recent statistics show that unreasonable behavior – which includes alcohol abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse – is the most cited reason for divorce cases against men.
In a previous blog, which details the valid grounds for divorce in Northern Ireland, we mentioned that unreasonable behavior is often cited in instances where couples would prefer to agree to a ‘no fault’ divorce but have not been separated for a long enough period. This may skew the statistics slightly but not enough to say that the statistics are inaccurate. You can read our full blog on the grounds for divorce in Northern Ireland here.
Does divorce favour women?
Statistically, divorce does favour women but this is not to say that there is a bias against men. The facts merely show that women are more successful in divorce claims, not that they are awarded unfairly. These judgments are in the vast majority of cases awarded for good reason and not just as a default response.
Men are generally higher earners and as such have more to lose as a result. But the prospect of being a single parent with very little money is a huge risk taken by many divorcing mothers.
Child custody and contact
In terms of child custody, the statistics are again in favour of women. Figures show that over 80% of children of separated parents, do live with their mother.
Advice for men
It is unfair to say that there is a bias against men in divorce but men are often forgotten in the process, and are usually the ‘losers’ in these cases (this is not to say that a woman who has been through a difficult or even abusive relationship could ever be considered a ‘winner’). A husband can find themselves facing a life without their partner, house or kids in an instant, and this can be very difficult to comprehend.
Our Family Law solicitors advise that planning for the future is one of the most important factors to consider for those going through a divorce. Where will you live? How will the finances be divided? It is best to consider all potential scenarios so nothing comes as a shock.