Since the advent of the internet and the proliferation of personal computers, we, as a global culture, live in a very interesting time. Our era has been called the Digital Age, the Computer Age, and the New Media Age, but perhaps the best description is the Information Age. Never before has so much data and a wide spectrum of statistics been so readily available to academics and researchers looking to learn about how the world works and how we work within it. The availability of such information has led to new studies on human relationship, marriage, and divorce being published on a regular basis, with each one providing suggestions on how to better our interpersonal connections.
One of the most recent projects regarding divorce was conducted by a sociologist at Harvard University. Its findings suggest that, despite cultural changes in the perception of gender roles within a family, a husband’s employment status is an indicator of the health of the marriage. A marriage, it seems, is more likely to end in divorce when the husband does not work full-time.
One-Third More Likely
Alexandra Killewald, a professor of sociology at Harvard, examined data that included more than 6,300 heterosexual couples from the United States and spanned almost half a century. She found that there was a significant shift in divorce patterns that began in the mid-1970s and continues to the present day. Couples who married prior to 1975 were more likely to get divorced when household chores and duties were divided equally between the spouses. Since the mid-70s, however, the division of housework has mattered much less. Now, the employment status of the man seems to be a much bigger factor.
Killewald’s research intentionally did not include marriages in which the husband chose to be a stay-at-home father, nor did it include same-sex couples. A married man working less than full-time, the study suggests, is about 30 percent more likely to get divorced than one working full-time. The study also indicated that involuntary part-time or nonemployment is much more dangerous to a marriage than voluntary nonemployment. In other words, if the couple makes the conscious decision that the man will only work part-time or not at all, the divorce rate was less affected than when the man was fired, laid off, or unable to find full-time work.
While the employment status of either spouse can certainly affect the financial situation of a couple, it seems that the problem is more about expectations that each spouse has for one another and themselves. Involuntary underemployment may be seen as a sign of weakness or leadership failure, causing a level of distrust or resentment that could have marriage-ending results.
If you are considering divorce for any reason, it is important to understand your available options under the law. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today to discuss your case and how our firm might be able to help. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation with Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C.