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New study looks at link between employment status and divorce

When an Illinois couple sees their marriage come to an end, many factors can contribute to the decision to split. A study that appeared in the American Sociological Review shared insights gained after a Harvard sociology professor analyzed data about approximately 6,300 couples collected over 46 years. When looking at the employment status of married partners, a different picture emerged for men and women.

The advances women made as members of the workforce during the 1970s added to their economic independence, which could enable their decision to divorce. The employment status of women in general, however, did not appear to influence their desire to end marriages. Women got divorces whether they had jobs or not.

Men, however, showed a greater likelihood of having to go through a divorce if they were not employed full time. Over the course of a year, a man without a job has a 3.3 percent chance of divorce compared to employed husbands who experience a 2.5 percent chance of a divorce filing. Societal expectations that label men as breadwinners for families could be the source of marital strain. The fact that a husband's unemployment could produce financial pressure is also a factor.

When financial or emotional issues compel someone to end a marriage, seeking out legal advice could aid in the process. One of the legal issues that often becomes contentious is property division. Illinois courts follow the principles of equitable distribution when making these determinations, and they divide property in a manner that they deem fair. However, estranged couples might prefer to have their respective attorneys negotiate a settlement rather than leaving the decision up to a judge.

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