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Why are more women initiating divorce later in life?

Many Massachusetts readers know that the divorce rate in the United States seems to hover around 50 percent. It would appear that a substantial number of the people getting a divorce are middle-aged. The AARP, Inc. reports that 66 percent of midlife divorces are initiated by women.

More than half of the women who participated in a recent survey said they divorced during midlife because of many years of emotional abuse from their husbands. This type of abuse often manifests through one spouse belittling, criticizing, and insulting the other in order to maintain control over the other partner. The spouse who endures years of emotional abuse often feels inferior and develops low self-esteem.

It can be difficult to recognize emotional abuse at the beginning of a marriage since it is often disguised as concern or with a sense of humor. In fact, 70 percent of the women in this survey married because they were in love, which can mask any signs that a partner could be an emotional abuser. This emotional control can go on for many years before the abused spouse starts to reevaluate his or her marriage and takes action. This is often when a divorce is initiated.

It can take a great deal of courage to file for divorce under these circumstances. Anyone in Massachusetts who has been through — or is going through — a divorce knows that, even under the best of circumstances, it is not an easy process. It may benefit anyone leaving this type of marriage to be aware of his or her rights and what he or she is entitled to in a divorce settlement.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Real Reason Over Half of Women Say They Divorced in Midlife“, Abby Rodman, May 19, 2014

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