In 2016, the “American Sociological Review” published a study that found that one of the major factors in whether a couple would divorce was the employment status of the husband. This means that if a husband in Illinois does not work full time, the marriage has a 3.3 percent chance of getting a divorce in any given year. In a marriage in which the husband works full time, the chance drops to 2.5 percent.
The study was done by a Harvard sociology professor who looked at more than 45 years of data and over 6,000 couples. She found that in the mid-1970s, the likelihood of divorce increased. However, it was not tied to women’s economic independence or division of household chores.
The study did not delve into the specific causes for divorce, but one reason could be related to the idea that a husband is still expected to be a breadwinner. Having only one spouse fully employed could also create a financial strain that could damage the marriage.
This financial strain might carry over into the divorce. If there are debts, these may be divided along with assets. If one person has not worked outside the home throughout the marriage or has a much lower income than the other spouse, the higher-earning spouse might be required to pay spousal support for a period of time. The retirement account might also be divided even if only one spouse has contributed to it. People who are concerned about protecting themselves financially in a divorce might want to talk to an attorney about their specific concerns. Because of the emotions associated with the process, there is a danger that a person might agree to unfavorable terms in order to get the divorce over with quickly. An attorney might be able to help guide a client away from this.