Given that the vast majority of marriages in Illinois are between a woman and a man, it would follow that approximately half of all divorce filings are made by men, and the other half by women. Recent research turned up data in sharp contrast to that presumption, and revealed that one gender is responsible for the majority of divorce filings. The reasons behind this might be as complex and unique as a couple’s decision to end their marriage in the first place.

In an analysis of data from 2009 to 2015, university researchers found that among a sample group of 2,262 people who had partners of the opposite sex, women initiated the divorce process 69 percent of the time. This trend did not appear in couples who were living together but not married, and those couples tended to experience separations initiated by men and women equally. So what’s driving the divorce filings by women?

Some social scientists point to the assumed sensitivities that women tend to experience with relationships, which could be a driving force toward divorce. Another hypothesis for the significant number of female-initiated divorces addresses what could be a reaction to traditional gender roles. In a world where women have more equality than ever, that equality can easily break down at home, where women are often expected to bear the brunt of housework and childcare.

This is not the first study to clearly demonstrate a connection between divorce filings and the sex of the filer, but it does help to reinforce the credibility of previous studies as well as provide a deeper insight into the possible reasons behind women’s higher filing rate. Although broad, generalizations can often be made about a group as a whole — such as all of the divorcees in Illinois — individual couples often experience a wide range of unique factors that contribute to their decision to divorce. Additionally, no matter who files for divorce, both parties are still entitled to a settlement that is fair to everyone involved.

Source: TIME, “Why Women Are More Likely to Ask for a Divorce“, Alice Park, Aug. 22, 2015