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Study Finds Divorce Rate Higher for Husbands Who Do Not Work Full-Time

 Posted on August 05, 2016 in Divorce Rate

Lombard family law attorneyFor years, marriage and relationship experts have presented evidence suggesting that financial struggles are often a key factor when a couple decides to get divorced. In many ways, the concept makes sense. Money management is a core principle of any relationship and spouses dealing with economic stress and anxiety will often reach a breaking point quickly. A new study, however, seems to indicate that there is more to the story than just money, as its results showed that a husband’s ability to find full-time work directly impacts the couple’s likelihood of divorce.

Behaviors Over Money

Alexandra Killewald, a sociology professor at Harvard University, recently authored a study that was published in the American Sociological Review. She reviewed more than four decades of information related to over 6,300 heterosexual couples in compiling her research. The data did not include husbands who voluntarily choose to fulfill the role of a stay-at-home parent.

Her results showed that husbands who worked full-time have a 2.5 percent chance of getting divorced in a given year. A husband who is not employed full-time has a 3.3 percent chance of divorce. This represents an increased likelihood of divorce by about one-third.

Generational Changes

Interestingly, the distinction only began appearing for couples who got married since 1975. Prior to that, the man’s working status did not matter as much as the division of household chores. Pre-1975 couples were more likely to divorce when the husband and wife split housework evenly, perhaps because the man felt threatened by such a “non-traditional” arrangement.

As far the reasons for why 1975 seemed to present a threshold of sorts, Killewald noted, “The late 1970’s were really a time of change in what women expected for their careers.” Men’s expected roles in a marriage, it would seem, have not changed very much. Today, women are also more empowered to take action when faced with an unhappy or unhealthy marriage, as an estimated two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women.

Possible Reasons

The study’s findings do not provide insight into exactly why underemployed men are more likely to divorce, but Killewald does have some thoughts on the matter. “It could be her, it could be him, it could be that unemployment is associated with other stuff like depression,” she says. “It could be judgment from friends or family or lack of support for the marriage. These data just don’t tell me that.”

Facing the Possibility of Divorce?

If you have reached the point in your marriage where divorce has become a consideration, it is important to speak with an experienced Lombard family law attorney as soon as possible. Divorce can be a confusing and complex process, and our compassionate team will provide the guidance and representation you need. Call us today to schedule an appointment at any of our three convenient office locations.



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