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Unemployment among men may lead to higher divorce rate

Among Maryland different-sex couples where the husband is unemployed, the likelihood of a divorce is higher. A study conducted by a sociology professor at Harvard found that male unemployment was an important predictor of divorce while several other factors traditionally believed to contribute to the divorce rate were not significant.

Since the 1960s, the divorce rate has risen from 30 percent to 50 percent. Some had theorized that this was the result of women's increased financial independence as they began working outside the home in greater numbers, but the study showed that a woman's ability to support herself did not raise the chance of a divorce. Furthermore, access to government programs such as earned income tax credits and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also did not increase the likelihood of divorce.

Division of household chores only appeared to be a factor with couples who married prior to 1975, and in those couples, the less housework a woman did, the more likely a divorce was. For couples who got married thereafter, a more equitable chore division was not correlated to a higher divorce rate. The researcher who conducted the study said that there were still other factors that could be studied such as examining whether the existence of female breadwinners affected the divorce rate.

When people divorce and their income situations are significantly different, this can be a source of concern. The person who makes less money or who is unemployed may be concerned about how they will support themselves. Those who are in this position should discuss the situation with their attorney and how they might want to seek spousal support as well as liquid assets in a property division settlement until they find a job.

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