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When men don't bring the bacon home: divorce and job status

"For richer and for poorer," goes the line in a widely known marriage vow. The impact of money can be unpredictable, however, for actual American couples. Yet there are certain pattern and tendencies that is it good to be aware of, even if you are still deciding whether divorce is the right course for you.

In Illinois and across the country, it's widely known that too many financial fights can be a predictor of divorce. But what is not so well known is that there are definite gender differences in how loss of a job affects the chances of divorce.

According to recent research, a wife's employment status is not really a factor in whether her husband will seek a divorce. For men, though, a problematic employment status makes divorce more likely. Unemployed men are more likely to leave a marriage than employed men. And unemployed men are also more likely to be left by their wives than employed men are.

The research was done at the University of Ohio. It was published recently in the American Journal of Sociology. The findings suggest that the old "bring-home-the-bacon" image of men is still very much alive in how men are viewed - and in how they view themselves.

To be sure, there are many husbands and wives who are able to adjust to the emotional challenges a husband's job loss presents. But many are not. And so when the husband's bacon contribution is greatly reduced or even lost entirely, the result may be a divorce.

Of course, divorce itself comes with many financial issues to be resolved. Marital property and debts must be divided. If there are minor children, child support will be important. And so on.

Granted, the issues may be different in a high-asset divorce than in a divorce involving people of more moderate means. But given that marriage is a financial partnership, unwinding it requires tackling the money issues - for richer or poorer.

Source: "Money Quick Tips: Job loss and marriage," USA Today, 1-26-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in Illinois. To learn more about our practice, please visit our property division page.

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