It has long been assumed, by economists and sociologists alike, that the dramatic rise in (mainly Western) divorce rates since the 1960s was a direct result of the equally dramatic rise in women's economic independence due to their increased labour market participation. One would expect that the overall negative financial consequences of relationship dissolution have fallen over time, with women becoming more self-supporting. However, it remains unclear whether this change over time can solely be attributed to women's economic independence and whether or not it has been the same for all women.
This research has two goals. Firstly, since the expectations on the 'role' of men and women in the household have changed, the research intends to investigate how the division of not only paid labour, but also household labour influences divorce risks. A second aim is to examine factors that cause financial inequalities between women who experienced a relationship dissolution to arise or persist. Uncharted territory in this respect is the role of "anticipation". Women who expect an upcoming dissolution are hypothesized to take precautionary measures such as finding employment to deal with the negative financial consequences. Not accounting for this anticipation in research leads to biased conclusions because observing women a certain time (e.g. one year) after divorce does not necessarily mean that they have been coping with the divorce for the same amount of time.