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Study shows husband's employment is best predictor of divorce

There are many reasons some marriages in Minnesota end in divorce. But, some trends and patterns exist. A recent study sheds some light on the factors in a marriage that can predict the likelihood of divorce and it contains some surprising findings.

A Harvard sociologist looked at data from 6,309 marriages nationwide from 1968 to 2013. Of these marriages, 1,684 ended in divorce or permanent separation. To account for changes in women's participation in the workforce, the study looked separately at marriages entered into before and after 1975.

The study concluded that, for couples married after 1975, the most important predictor of divorce is whether the husband is employed full time. In couples where the husband had full-time work, the chance of divorce was 2.5 percent. When the husband was not working full time, the chance of divorce increased by about one-third, to 3.3 percent.

The study concluded that, contrary to widespread beliefs, a couple's overall financial situation is not a major factor in predicting divorce. The amount of income either spouse brings home and whether one spouse earns more than the other, are also not major determinants. For couples married after 1975, how housework is divided is not important in predicting divorce. The study's conclusion suggests that for many couples, the traditional role of the husband as breadwinner is still important.

Although a couple's economic situation appears to play less of a role in causing divorce than previously thought, when the decision to divorce is made economics become a central issue. The terms of a divorce decree, particularly those addressing property division, alimony and child support, will affect a person's financial situation for years to come. For this reason it is critical in divorce proceedings to understand what one is entitled to under the law and negotiate -- or litigate -- to get the best possible outcome.

Source: New York Magazine, "Turns Out That the Husband's Job Is Probably the Best Predictor of Divorce," Drake Baer, July 28, 2016

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