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Unemployed husbands face higher divorce risk

Money is an important issue in any marriage, and it continues to be at the forefront of discussions during divorces as well. However, according to the study from Harvard University, financial issues may not matter as much when it comes to increasing the divorce risk as much as how the couple divides the work, both paid and unpaid.

Most housework, around 70 percent, is still done by women, and this includes those situations where both parties are working outside the home. Men today are doing more of the household work compared to decades past, and this is likely to lead to increased marital satisfaction. The study showed that couples who divide the housework and chores more evenly are less likely to get divorced.

When it comes to paid work, however, the men don't fare so well. Whether the woman was working outside the home or was able to support the family had no significant effect on the couple's divorce risk. If the husband was unemployed, however, the divorce risk was increased by 32 percent. The study did not separate out men who were unemployed by choice.

The fact that general financial strain did not impact the chance of divorce indicates that this is more about perceived gender roles than actual money troubles. Men still face societal pressure to be the primary breadwinners for their families, and when this doesn't happen, it can create significant strain. However, if the parties do choose to divorce, the current income and earning potential of both will become important factors in things like property division, child support and spousal support.

Source: Medical Daily, "Married Couple's Finances Are Not A Risk Factor For Divorce, But An Unemployed Husband Could Be," Ed Cara, July 31, 2016

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