Minnesota couples may have heard that the divorce rate in the U.S. is at about 50 percent, but it can be difficult to understand why the number is so high. There are myriad reasons why a couple decides to end their marriage, and while infidelity and substance abuse issues may be a factor in divorces, studies show that employment, or lack thereof, is a major cause of marital strife and emotional stress. According to a study by a Harvard sociologist, however, employment seems to be a one-sided issue in matters of divorce.
The study, which included data from about 6,300 heterosexual couples, indicates that divorce is more likely when the husband is not employed full-time. The wife’s employment status did not seem to significantly impact divorce rates or overall marital endurance. The study also concluded that, even though more women are employed outside the home than in the 1960s, when the national divorce rate was at 30 percent, wives still perform about 70 percent of household chores.
This disparity, along with a lack of economic contribution from the husband, could indicate that a marriage will not last. Yet researchers also say that more information is needed, especially in marriages where the couple have chosen the wife as the primary breadwinner. Additional data on voluntary versus involuntary unemployment may also impact future study results, sources indicate.
Even a happy marriage can become strained when one spouse is unemployed or contributes little to the household. Couples who are dealing with financial challenges may wish to seek mediation or counseling in order to avoid divorce. If a couple decides that they cannot work through their issues, however, the next step is typically a consultation with their respective family law attorneys who can assist with settlement negotiations.