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Researchers point to full-time employment as factor in divorce

Most couples in Oregon have their own opinions about what factors are most likely to ultimately lead to the breakdown of a marriage. Money problems are commonly believed to be a strong influencer of divorce, as are extramarital affairs and wives' ability to go financially support themselves after a split. However, researchers claim that how a couple divides up unpaid and paid labor can create a much higher risk.

When researchers examined couples who said "I do" after 1974, they found that wives who worked full time did not have a significant effect on divorce. Similarly, a more equal division of household duties -- such as folding laundry and doing dishes -- was not associated with higher divorce rates. While old-fashioned expectations of women in marriage no longer seem to be relevant for divorce, the same cannot necessarily be said for men. Whether a husband is employed full-time has a far more significant impact on the risk of filing for divorce. Researchers point out that while women generally no longer need to adhere to the traditional image of a homemaker, men are largely still expected to act as breadwinners.

The study did more than just examine what influences divorce in current marriages. It also examined how the factors that lead to a split have changed over time. When looking at couples who married before 1975, the less housework a woman did, the higher risk of divorcing she faced. That same risk is no longer associated with modern divorce.

Although there are certain factors that can increase the chances of filing for divorce, many Oregon couples find that the reasons behind their own divorces feel especially unique and nuanced. While this might be true, the divorce process largely addresses the same issues. These issues include property division, spousal support and, when appropriate, child custody and child support.

Source: Science Daily, "Study finds couples' division of paid, unpaid labor linked to risk of divorce", July 28, 2016

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