Does a Husband's Employment Status Affect Divorce Risk?

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyA recent national publication ran an article with the headline, “Men Without Full-Time Jobs Are More Likely to Divorce.” This may seem like a “no-brainer” as arguments stemming from financial difficulties is often listed as the primary reason couples tend to divorce.

A recent study authored by Alexandra Killewald, a professor of sociology at Harvard University, found that for couples married between 1975 and 2011, whether or not the husband held full-time employment outside the home was rarely an issue, but for couples married after 2011, the issue of paid and non-paid work was more likely to affect the stability of the marriage.

Killewald found that financial stability and who earns the paycheck does not necessarily indicate a divorce is looming but rather that the stability of the marriage depends on the behaviors and stereotypic notions of each spouse, i.e., husband-breadwinner and wife-homemaker. If there is conflict in this area, the marriage could be jeopardized.

As expectations of not only a spouse, but the marriage in general have changed over the years, so has the factors that affect a couple’s risk of divorce.

Through her research, Killewald developed computer models as indicators of divorce risk based on employment and sharing of household duties. Employment and the ages, education level, race, religion, and whether or not the couple owned their home or had children, as well as the financial stability of the wife if the couple divorced, were measured.

By applying these variables to couples married before 1975, results supported the theory of what it meant to be a “good wife” when it came to traditional roles. For couples where the wife was responsible for 75 percent or more of the household duties, the couple was less likely to divorce.

However, for the husbands in the more-recently married category who did not have a full-time position and declined to help with the household chores, these men did face a higher risk of divorce.

In conclusion, Killewald’s study suggests that although women in contemporary marriages enjoy flexibility in deciding whether to join the labor force or accept all responsibility for the home, the wife’s choices solely do not affect the stability of the marriage, however, this is not the case for the man about the house. Killewald remarks that although societal changes have taken place, it is still the expectation that the husband remain gainfully employed or possibility experience the decline or even dissolution of his marriage.

Whether you are in a traditional or contemporary marriage and it is just not working, the Hinsdale divorce attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio understand the challenges of a dissolving marriage. If you are contemplating divorce, our legal team is here to help. With over 75 years of combined legal experience, we will fight for your rights and objectives. Contact our offices to schedule your no charge consultation today.


Recent Blog Posts



Free Initial Consultations

phone 630-920-8855
address15 North Lincoln Street, Hinsdale, IL 60521
Our firm handles family law and personal injury matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Clarendon Hills, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Geneva, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Western Springs, LaGrange, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville.

© 2023 Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio 15 North Lincoln Street, Hinsdale, IL 60521 630-920-8855

OVC Lawyer Marketing

Share Your Experience