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Husband's job status may affect likelihood of divorce

A marriage in California might have a higher chance of ending in divorce if the husband is not employed full time. This was one of the findings in a study that appeared in the "American Sociological Review." A Harvard sociology professor looked at 46 years of data from more than 6,000 couples and found an increase in divorce in the mid-1970s. In part, this may have been because the stigma associated with divorce declined. The professor examined both employment and the division of household chores to see how those factors affected a couple's likelihood of divorce.

She found that neither the division of household chores nor women's economic independence played a major role in divorce rates. However, after 1975, men's employment did become a significant factor. If a husband worked full time, his chance of divorce in any given year was 2.5 percent. If the man did not have full-time employment, his chance of divorce was 3.3 percent.

While the study did not examine the causes for this increase, one reason may be that men are still expected to be breadwinners. It could also be due to the strain created by financial problems.

Finances may be an issue in divorce just as in marriage. In California, all assets acquired after marriage, including retirement accounts, are generally considered marital property that can be split evenly. Furthermore, one spouse might be ordered to pay support to the other. This support might be temporary. For example, a person might only receive support while training or going to school to get a new job. Spousal support is separate from child support, which is usually paid by the noncustodial parent.

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