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Men's employment status may be one key to divorce

Colorado couples in which the man is unemployed may be more likely to divorce according to a study by a Harvard sociology professor. The study, which examined more than 6,300 different-sex couples nationwide, found that a number of factors typically assumed to increase the chance of divorce were not significant, but the loss of the traditional breadwinner role for men might be. It was speculated that men's unemployment may be more likely to be involuntary, and this could contribute to stress.

Among the factors that did not increase the risk of divorce was women's earning power. Whether women's ability to support themselves was the result of their own careers or government programs such as earned income tax credits or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, their financial independence did not jeopardize marriages despite speculation that this could be the reason for the increase of the divorce rate from 30 to 50 percent since the 1960s.

Division of household responsibilities was only significant for couples married prior to 1975. Women doing fewer household tasks increased the chance of divorce in those couples, but a more equitable division of household chores did not result in more divorces for couples who got married thereafter. The researcher said that further study was needed to examine other factors such as the effects of having a female breadwinner.

Finances are often a concern during a divorce, and when one member of a couple is underemployed or unemployed, these concerns may be heightened. The lower-income person may worry about how they will support themselves while the higher-income person might worry about how they will afford spousal support. A person in such a situation might want to visit an attorney with a thorough accounting of the family's income, assets and debts to start getting a picture of how they can secure themselves financially.

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