Research indicates that women, as opposed to men, more often ask for a divorce when a couple is married, but both partners are equally likely to initiate a breakup when a couple is not married, even if they are both living together. A nationwide study found that, both in Arizona and nationally, divorces are initiated by women about 69 percent of the time, while about 31 percent are initiated by men.
Researchers believe that the difference may be in part attributed to traditional gender roles. Traditionally, men may be more focused on roles outside the home, such as a career. Some wives are also expected to take on specific household duties, such as housework and childcare, while couples who are not married may be more flexible in their roles within a relationship.
Divorce can permanently change the roles that men and women take on in the relationship. Usually, one parent will be named the primary custodian of the children, while the other parent will have visitation rights and be ordered to pay child support. Some parents may opt for joint custody, which means that the children will spend approximately equal time with each parent.
In a divorce, property must also be divided. In Arizona, a community property state, there is a strong presumption that any property acquired during the duration of the marriage is marital property. Any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage is separate property. Separate property in some cases may unintentionally become commingled with community property, making some property separation issues complicated, and, therefore, a lawyer may be able to help with the details.