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Traditional gender roles for women could cause marital strife

According to a recent study presented at the American Sociological Association, women in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States who are in a heterosexual marriage are more likely to initiate a divorce than men. However, in relationships where the couple is not married, both genders are equally likely to initiate an end to the relationship.

Years of research has indicated that women tend to initiate divorces. As a result, researchers have surmised that women are more likely to be attuned to relationship difficulties than men and expected that they would see similar numbers of women ending relationships when they were unmarried.

The study, which found that women in an opposite-sex marriage were the divorce initiators 69 percent of the time compared to 31 percent for men, was conducted between 2009 and 2015 and surveyed more than 2,000 adults. The study's lead author speculated that relationships and gender roles might be more traditional within a marriage. Women might tend to do the bulk of the child care and the housework, and this might lead to greater unhappiness than men experience in marriage. When the couple is not married, women might feel less pressure to conform to traditional gender roles.

Same-sex couples may not grapple with the same set of gender expectations regarding their roles in a relationship, but some of their marriages will end in divorce as well. They will face the same issues as opposite-sex couples regarding division of assets, support and in some cases child custody, but they might prefer to work with attorneys who have experiences dealing with same-sex relationships. Some couples might have been married in another state prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. They may also have drawn up legal documents to ensure their rights were protected. However, even if the couple married in the state, they may still wish to consult attorneys who can assist them during an emotional time and ensure that property division and other aspects of the divorce are equitable.

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