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New theory connects divorce rates with salary differences

Statistics show that the numbers of people who marry and those who divorce fluctuate annually. People in Michigan seem to be interested in new research showing what predicts a successful marriage and what may indicate a couple is heading for divorce. New research presents another theory for why a couple may end up in divorce court, and that theory centers on salaries.

The latest report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that wives earn the money for about 38 percent of heterosexual married couples. If both spouses work, wives earn more than their husbands 29 percent of the time, and this number is rising. A Harvard Business Review study shows a correlation between these statistics and the rising number of divorces.

The Harvard study concludes that wives tend to feel embarrassed and husbands more anxious if the husbands earn less than their wives do, and those feelings may lead to dissatisfaction in the marriage. However, husbands can counter any negative emotions if they help out around the house. In fact, marriages in which the wife earns more money tend to be more stable when the husband offers tangible support such as cleaning up or caring for the children.

This study offers only one theory for the causes of a divorce. Each relationship in Michigan is unique, and the reasons why a marriage ends are typically personal and painful. When divorce is imminent, people often reach out to an attorney for advice and assistance. An attorney can discuss the various options and help one decide if mediation or litigation will work best for a specific situation.

Source: Miami Herald, "Women earning more means divorce is more likely -- unless husbands do housework", Kate Irby, May 4, 2017

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