Divorce Rate Increases with Daughters, but May Help End Abuse

By October 11, 2010Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Monday, October 11, 2010

According to past census data, couples with first-born daughters are 5 percent more likely to file for divorce, and in fact, that rate doubles if the couple has three or more daughters. The 2003 research conducted by University of California-San Diego and UC Berkeley economists used the U.S. Census Data for more than 3 million adults and explained the daughter-divorce effect from a pro-male perspective. They theorized that boys kept relationships together by somehow increasing the quality of the marriage and ensuring that a father will stay in a relationship.

A new theory based on a female perspective has recently emerged to explain the divorce phenomenon. Proponents of the theory criticize prior research for failing to acknowledge that 73 percent of divorces are actually filed by the female spouse. Clinical psychologist Susan Heitler and professor of psychology Anita Kelly studied to the mother-daughter relationship as a factor for the higher rate of divorce amongst couples with first-born daughters.

The mother-daughter relationship is an exceptionally supportive relationship within the family, according to the theory. A mother contemplating divorce often feels a sort of protection from loneliness through the unique relationship and is less fearful of being a single parent. Statistics show that adult daughters actually decrease a mother’s household burden as opposed to boys who tend to increase their workload.

Heitler and Kelly have found that many mothers feel empowered by their daughters to end multigenerational patterns of domestic violence. They theorize that a woman is more likely to leave an abusive marriage because they fear that they are not teaching their daughters about love and healthy relationships through example. “They think, it’s hard to go through a divorce, but at the same time I don’t want this to be a model of what marriage should be to my daughter,” Heitler said.

Source: ABC News “Couples With Daughters More Likely to Divorce” Courtney Hutchison 10/6/10