Once upon a time, it was rare for a wife to earn more than her husband. Fifty years ago, career opportunities for women were limited and many chose to be stay-at-home moms, so the instances of wives with higher incomes than husbands were uncommon.
Today, 38 percent of married women earn more than their husbands, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And this non-traditional income disparity can in some cases lead to marital problems and divorce, according to several studies.
But not all researchers are agreed on what is likely to happen when a wife earns more than a husband, a recent news article on the subject stated. Some experts believe couples are actually more likely to stay together when the woman has the higher income.
However, a 2016 study called “Money, Work, and Marital Stability: Assessing Change in the Gendered Determinants of Divorce,” found that the risk of divorce is one-third higher when a husband does not work full-time. The study of more than 6,300 couples by a Harvard sociology professor found that when husbands don’t work full-time (often an indicator that the wife earns more), cultural expectations can eat away at the marriage.
“Expectations of wives’ homemaking may have eroded, but the husband/breadwinner norm persists,” author Alexandra Killewald said. In some cases, men feel peer pressure to be the traditional breadwinner and in other cases, some men experience internal pressure to live up to standards held by his parents.
There are many variations on marital difficulties that bring a couple to the point that divorce is inevitable. Emotions are often running hot at that point in life. It makes sense to sit down with a Lake Charles attorney experienced in helping clients sort through their legal options and decide on the best approach for ending the marriage and deciding child custody and property division issues.