While there has been media speculation that women’s increasing economic independence may be a contributor to the divorce rate, one study that looked at data from over 6,300 couples found that this was not the case. In fact, according to the study, couples in California and throughout the country are more likely to divorce if the man does not play the role of the traditional breadwinner.
Other factors that have been believed to increase the likelihood of divorce include division of chores in a relationship and the couple’s financial situation. However, neither of these were particularly significant indicators of divorce although for couples who married prior to 1975, equitable chore division did increase the chances.
The study also demonstrated that if women had access to government assistance such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or earned income tax credits, they were no more likely to divorce. From a public policy standpoint, this suggests that these programs will not drive up the divorce rate. That rate has increased from 30 percent to 50 percent since the 1960s, and the study author suggests further examination of data is needed. For example, families in which women are the breadwinners might be examined.
Both men and women who do face divorce might be concerned about their finances. If one person is unemployed, they may be concerned about how they will support themselves while the employed person might wonder about how they will manage spousal and child support payments. People who are considering divorce may want to discuss concerns like this with an attorney. An attorney might be able to advise them regarding how these concerns might play out in the divorce. Negotiating these issues might be a possible alternative to going through litigation.