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Is there a link between a spouse's employment status and divorce?

Some couples in Rhode Island choose to embrace a "traditional" marriage, in which the husband works outside the home, while the wife stays at home to care for the family. These days, however, more spouses are choosing to both work outside the home and share the household duties. But what happens if one spouse loses his or her job? Does that affect the couple's chances of divorce?

According to a new study, a husband's employment status may indicate whether the couple is at risk of getting a divorce. The study examined over 6,300 heterosexual couples. Some of the couples were married prior to 1975. These couples were more apt to have the husband work and the wife stay at home. Other couples studied were married after 1975. These couples were less apt to have a "traditional" marriage. The couples were between 18 to 55-years-old.

The study found that for couples who wed after 1975, while it did not matter how much each spouse earned, whether the husband was working full-time made a difference in whether the couple might divorce. It was found that if the husband had a full-time job, the couple was 25 percent less apt to end their marriage. If the husband was unable to work full-time or was unemployed, the risk of divorce went up.

However, for couples married prior to 1975, the whether or not the husband had a full-time job did not seem to impact the chance that the couple would ultimately divorce. According to researchers, this study shows that while married women are not necessarily obligated to be homemakers these days, married men are still expected to be the "breadwinner" of the family by maintaining full-time employment.

Of course, keep in mind that this is only one study. Many Rhode Island couples who have chosen to both work outside the home or even have the wife work while the husband stays at home find they have successful marriages. In addition, the study did not examine same-sex couples. Moreover, some other studies have reached different conclusions.

In the end, there are a myriad of reasons why a Rhode Island couple will choose to divorce. Sometimes the stress of unemployment can break a marriage, while other times couples will remain strong, even during bad times. However, if a couple decides ending their marriage is for the best, they should each seek the advice of an attorney, to learn how to properly proceed.

Source: MarketWatch, "Do this and your wife is more likely to divorce you," Catey Hill, July 30, 2016

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