According to a study recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, couples were 6 percent more likely to divorce if the wife became ill. When a husband had an illness, conversely, it did not lead to any corresponding increase. There were some theories offered as to why this may have been the case.
Researchers got their data by looking at 2,701 marriages in a Health and Retirement Study that covered the period from 1992 to 2010. Illnesses that were tracked as part of the study included cancer, lung disease and stroke, and all of the couples had at least one spouse that was over the age of 51. One of the conclusions from the study was that health may play a role in whether a marriage survives or ultimately ends in a divorce.
This may be because one spouse is expected to manage household duties and provide financially for the couple if the sick spouse cannot work. In addition, it was discovered that wives who became ill were generally less satisfied with the level of care that they received from their husbands. It led researchers to believe that it could be that women are asking for divorce more often than men are simply because men are less likely to be natural caregivers.
For those who are anticipating divorce proceedings or are simply looking for information regarding such matters, it may be worthwhile to consult with a family law attorney. Property division, child custody and spousal support are just some of the issues that can be exacerbated by the illness of one of the parties. In many cases, it may be possible with legal assistance to negotiate a settlement agreement that takes these matters into account and that can be approved by the court.
Source: Deseret News, "Divorce more likely when wife has serious illness", Lois M. Collins, March 6, 2015