For many years, the concept of divorce has had a negative connotation, especially for women. In the olden days – and still to some of the more conservative minded individuals – the dissolution of a marriage was considered to leave a woman “ruined” with little chance of ever obtaining happiness again or financial stability. Many women suffered quietly through loveless and unstable matrimonies out of sheer fear of being labeled as “Spinsters,” enduring day after day of abuse and torment. Even women who did obtain a divorce were considered to be miserable.

However, new research reveals that we may have been wrong about the effects of divorce on women all along. A recent student by London’s Kingston University suggests that, contrary to popular belief, women are actually happier following divorce.

Researchers at the university questioned of 10,000 U.K. citizens between the ages of 16 and 60 over the course of 20 years over their level of happiness before and after significant milestones in their lives, such as divorce, and the results were nothing short of fascinating.

The study, published in the journal Economica, found that women reported being significantly happier than usual for up to five years after a divorce, despite the fact that divorce can sometimes have a negative financial impact on women. Men also reported feeling happier in the wake of a divorce, but to a lesser degree.

When questioned on what possible explanation could be given for this change in mood, Professor Yannis Georgellis, Director of the Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society at Kingston Business School, explained that much of the post-divorce happiness for women stems from a feeling of liberation.

“…Women who enter into an unhappy marriage feel much more liberated after divorce than their male counterparts,” explained the professor.

Of course, much of the happiness reported by women following a split can also be attributed to the successful work of their divorce lawyers. Having a top divorce attorney on a case can lead to a faster resolution, increased benefits – like alimony – for either party, and an overall favorable outcome for the entire family.