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Unemployment status increases divorce risk

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2016 | Property Division

Every couple has financial issues that come up from time to time, and disagreements about money and budgeting are common in most marriages. When there is significant financial strain, it can raise the stress levels of both parties, decreasing marital satisfaction and increasing the chance of divorce. However, a study set to be published in the American Sociological Review found that it may not be the actual lack of money that’s the problem.

Researchers in the study reviewed data from more than 6.300 couples and looked for trends in how the wives working outside the home, financial problems and husbands’ unemployment affected the divorce rate. The researchers found that for most couples, whether or not the wife worked outside the home or was able to support the family in the case of the husband being unemployed did not affect the chance of divorce either way.

The employment status of the husband, on the other hand, had a significant effect on how likely the couple was to divorce. The study found that when the husband was unemployed the chance of divorce increased by more than 30 percent. However, there were some limitations to the study. Only heterosexual couples were included, and the vast majority of the men were not unemployed by choice. More research is needed, specifically in the area of men who are voluntarily unemployed — such as stay-at-home dads — to better understand how employment status and divorce are related.

Employment is also not just a factor during the marriage. If only one spouse has been working during the marriage, it can have an effect on both the property division settlement and any court-ordered support payments.

Source: Bloomgberg, “Don’t Blame Divorce on Money. Ask: Did the Husband Have a Job?,” Ben Steverman, July 29, 2016