California couples who start their marriages with an equitable gender arrangement concerning work and career are more likely to stay married than those who go through a transition of roles. A Swedish study found that when a wife’s career takes off after initially being largely responsible for child care and housework, divorce may be more likely.
In the early days of a marriage, a wife might earn less than a husband because she is spending her time at home with the children or because of career sacrifices. Over time, however, the woman could begin earning more money than the man. Ultimately, the husband might start to resent this. He may try to control how the money is spent or make accusations such as that the woman is having an affair.
In some cases of a role reversal, the husband may take his work less seriously. The strain this creates can lead to the end of the marriage. Some couples may be able to clearly communicate their needs and reach a workable solution, but this is not always possible.
If this leads to a divorce, then the couple may need to negotiate an agreement regarding property division. Since California is a community property state, all the assets brought into the marriage by either spouse are generally considered shared property. If both spouses have their own retirement and bank accounts, they might be able to reach an agreement in which they divide the assets evenly. If the one spouse is making significantly more than the other, they might have to pay alimony or child support.