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Family law study suggests new causes for divorce

Divorce is a complicated and sometimes challenging life experience shared by Americans and Canadians alike. This is why British Columbia residents may be interested in a recent family law study conducted by Harvard University about the causes of divorce from a historical perspective. The results may be surprising. 

Historically, it has been suggested that financial strain is a root cause of divorce, and while this is not necessarily untrue, the genesis of that strain may have changed over the last 60 years. Citing a study of 6,300 heterosexual couples going back to 1975, Harvard researchers believe it is not the amount of money a man brings into a home, but rather his level of employment that might influence his likelihood of experiencing divorce. The study was conducted on couples aged 18-55 and uses 1975 as a dividing cultural line. 

In couples married prior to 1975, divorce rates were higher in couples who shared household chores more equally. There are several reasons this could be the case, the most popular being it went against social mores of the time. Since then, however, a man's divorce likelihood actually increases not if he is employed, but if he is employed only part-time. Researchers are still puzzling out why this might be, but there is a definitive uptick: a part-time employee is one-third more likely to get divorced than a man who retains full-time employment. 

Of course, the reasons for divorce are diverse, which is why family law here in British Columbia and elsewhere in the world can be such a complicated topic. Sometimes, the reason for a divorce is less important than how a couple deals with the process. This is why seeking the support of a trained attorney for each spouse can be so helpful in mitigating the process. 

Source:  Bloomberg, "Don't Blame Divorce on Money. Ask: Did the Husband Have a Job?", Ben Steverman, July 28, 2016

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