It is well understood that disputes over money and finances can take a serious toll on a marriage. In fact, many sources suggest that disagreements regarding money are among the leading causes of divorce in the United States. A recent study suggests, however, that a different factor may have even more of an impact than money on a couple’s likelihood of divorce: the employment status of the husband.
Alexandra Killewald, a sociology professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, examined more than 40 years worth of data covering more than 6,300 married American opposite-sex couples. According to her findings, couples who married before 1975 were more likely to divorce if the husband and wife shared household duties equally—due, perhaps, to the “non-traditional” division of responsibilities. From 1975 forward, however, household responsibilities have not shown to impact the divorce rate very much, but the husband’s employment has.
Killewald’s analysis determined that the average husband with a full-time job has a 2.5 percent chance of getting divorced in any given year. A man who works less than full-time, however, has a 3.3 percent chance of getting divorced, an increase of more than 30 percent. For the purposes of the study, Killewald did not count voluntary stay-at-home dads. Her research indicated that the vast majority of the men in her data samples were involuntarily unemployed or underemployed.
In reviewing her findings, Killewald pointed out that there are several possible reasons for the difference in the divorce rate between husbands working full-time and those who do not. Despite advances in gender equality and the growing importance that women have placed on their careers in recent decades, it seems that many married couples—consciously or not—expect the husband to work a full-time job. The issue, however, is apparently not about money, but the stress and anxiety of being laid-off, fired, or otherwise out of a job involuntarily.
Considering a Divorce?
Studies such as this one provide little more of a snapshot into trends that are related to marriage and divorce. They are not necessarily predictive of what will happen in your marriage. If, however, your relationship has reached the point where divorce is becoming more likely, it is important to be prepared. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce lawyer to discuss your situation and your available options today. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office.