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Woman More pragmatic Than Men About Admitting Adultery
Wives who commit adultery are more likely than husbands to own up to their infidelities.
One of the country’s leading family law firms has reported that although men and women both regard being held culpable for a marriage ending by family and friends as carrying a stigma, wives are more inclined to take accusations of extra-marital affairs “on the chin”.
Gianna Lisiecki-Cunane, an Associate at JMW Solicitors, said analysis of a three-year divorce caseload handled by her firm and two decades of official statistics revealed striking differences between the attitudes of the sexes to adultery.
“Husbands are more willing to contest claims that they may have been unfaithful and are more willing to divorce on the grounds of their wife having had an affair.
“Even though neither men nor women want to be seen as the ones responsible for a marriage breaking down, wives are more likely to admit being unfaithful.
“They are particularly able to take allegations of adultery on the chin when they know that owning up to an affair will not necessarily impact on the financial terms of a divorce.
“Proceeding with a petition for divorce on the grounds of adultery requires proof of a sexual relationship, ideally in the form of an admission.
“We had previously seen many more divorces granted to husbands because of a wife’s infidelity but, in the last few years, it has been increasingly common for men to want to end a marriage because of a woman’s unreasonable behaviour as soon as the first suggestions of impropriety emerge.
“That way, he does not need to prove that his wife has had an affair, although it provides something of a catharsis for many to outline her conduct in the divorce petition.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) bear out the experience of JMW’s Family Department, which handles in excess of 300 divorces a year. In two decades up until 2010, husbands were often far more likely than wives to be granted divorces on the grounds of infidelity.
Divorces for adultery now account for only 14 per cent of all marriages end in England and Wales – a third of the proportion in 1992.
Over the same period, however, successful petitions based on women’s unreasonable behaviour have risen by 60 per cent and now account for more than one-third of all divorces granted to men. The percentage of similar claims made against husbands has remained consistent.
Ms Lisecki-Cunane described how differing attitudes on the part of men and women infidelity and divorce extended to sorting out finances and life beyond the administrative part of the process.
“If a wife has indeed found herself a new partner, she will be more open than a husband about that relationship while the business of tying up the loose ends of a marriage is taking place.
“That openness can, of course, stiffen the resolve of husbands who might already begrudge paying anything to someone whose conduct they regard as responsible for their marriage collapsing.
“Given that women are now the biggest earner in a growing number of marriages, it will be interesting to note if that attitude is common to so-called ‘breadwinning wives’ when it comes to dividing assets on divorce.”
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