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Unemployed husbands may face higher divorce risk

A study has found that couples in South Carolina and throughout the country may be more likely to get a divorce if the husband is unemployed. Experts have speculated about the reasons that this is the case. One may be that men are more likely than women to be unemployed involuntarily.

The study, which was conducted by a sociology professor at Harvard, looked at more than 6,300 different-sex couples. The data specified a number of factors that do not seem to contribute to divorces. These included whether or not a wife had the ability to support herself, the couples' finances, and the equitable division of chores. While chore division did not affect younger couples, it did play a role in couples who married prior to 1975. For those couples, divorce risk increased as women did fewer household chores.

Some experts say that the study may have public policy implications. For example, it demonstrated that programs such as SNAP and earned income tax credits for women do not increase the risk of divorce. The study also found that there was little correlation between women's increasing tendency to work outside the home and divorce.

Changing economic situations for men and women may also mean that some of the typical expectations in a divorce have changed. For example, men who are unemployed might be paid spousal support by their ex-wives. Both men and women who are considering divorce may want to take a look at their family financial situation, including income, assets and debts, with a lawyer. This is the first step toward making financial plans for the future.

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