Study: Men who are not working full time may be more at risk for divorce

New research suggests that divorce risk may be higher for husbands who are not working full time. In some cases, these men may be eligible for alimony.

Predicting whether a marriage will end in divorce is almost impossible, as every couple has a unique dynamic and faces distinct challenges. In recent years, though, research has pointed to a number of factors that can apparently increase a couple's risk of divorce, from social media habits to financial instability. Many people in Utah may be surprised to learn that the employment patterns of husbands may be another one of these predictors of divorce.

Increased divorce rates

The study used data on the relationships of 6,300 married couples that was collected over several decades. Time magazine states that, after controlling for other factors, the study's author found that men who were not working full time were 33 percent more likely to get divorced within the next 12 months. The study also concluded that this apparent divorce risk was not related to the financial pressure associated with a husband being unemployed or earning reduced wages.

The study data does not indicate why the likelihood of divorce is apparently greater for men who do not work full time. However, the study's author notes that, in these situations, various factors could put stress on a couple's marriage. These range from depression associated with job loss to judgment from people outside of the marriage.

Overall, the study found that divorce rates were still relatively low for men who worked less than full time. Annually, their probability of divorcing during the next year was 3.3 percent, compared to 2.5 percent for other men. Still, this suggests that many men may at some point face the challenge of navigating a divorce as the financially disadvantaged spouse.

Alimony issues

When significant financial disparities exist between two spouses during a divorce in Utah, the spouse with lower income and earning power may benefit from requesting spousal support, which is also known as alimony. This financial support, which serves to help a spouse maintain the standard of living that he or she enjoyed while married, is awarded regardless of gender. Therefore, many men in households with female breadwinners might be eligible for alimony.

Judges in Utah may consider various factors to decide whether to award alimony and identify an appropriate amount. In longer-term marriages, these factors include:

  • Each spouse's financial standing, economic needs and earning power
  • Each spouse's contributions to increases in the other spouse's earning power
  • The length of the marriage and the standard of living established during it
  • The responsibility assigned to each spouse in their child custody agreement

In shorter-duration marriages, judges may instead award alimony with the goal of returning each spouse to his or her prior financial standing.

Depending on the length of a marriage and a person's recent employment history, securing alimony on a brief or longer-term basis may be essential. Unfortunately, proving that an alimony award is merited may be challenging for many spouses. People who have concerns about seeking this support and otherwise protecting their financial interests during divorce should contact the attorneys at Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates.