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Divorce rates higher when husbands are unemployed

Married men in Texas and around the country who wish to avoid divorce should do whatever they can to remain gainfully employed, according to research conducted by a Harvard sociology professor. The professor studied more than 6,000 different-sex married couples and paid particular attention to how unemployment and financial stresses influenced divorce rates, and she discovered that bucking traditional gender roles had far more of an impact on husbands than it did on wives.

Married women in the workplace were once a rarity, and couples who married prior to 1975 were more likely to divorce when wives were less involved with domestic matters and performed fewer household chores. However, the professor found that this is no longer the case, and married women who pursue careers are now no more likely to divorce than those who choose to stay home and raise families.

However, the research indicates that the gender role of the male breadwinner is far more resilient, and the professor found a strong link between unemployment and divorce among married men. The professor believes that this could be explained by the lack of choices that most unemployed men have. While women generally make a conscious choice to enter the work force, unemployment among men is usually an involuntary situation. The research is scheduled to be published in the American Sociological Review.

Financial difficulties can put a great deal of strain on a marriage, and forced idleness can nurture resentment among those who are used to being family breadwinners. Experienced family law attorneys may seek to reduce the acrimony and emotional stresses of the divorce process by setting clear goals with their clients and letting them know what to expect during property division and spousal support negotiations. Attorneys may also advocate in family court on behalf of their clients when these discussions fail to produce an agreement.

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