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The role of illness in a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2015 | Firm News

A recently-published study based upon surveys of divorced couples in Texas and elsewhere has revealed that a marital breakdown is more likely in a situation where the wife becomes seriously ill than in the case of the illness of the husband. The disparity between the two statistics is significant, and it is necessary for all parties to be aware of this unpleasant possibility, both in an attempt to prepared for it and for the possibility of somehow ameliorating the situation.

A study of 2,701 marriages was conducted between 1992 and 2010 by researchers. It revealed that there was no indication of an increase in the risk of divorce in cases where the husband experienced a serious and life-altering illness. However, when it was the wife who became dangerously ill, the chances of divorce increased by 6 percent.

It is difficult to escape the impression that men are more likely to abandon their sick mate than are women, and researchers have speculated upon the root causes. There is no indication in the data whether it is the wife or the husband who ask for the divorces. It is possible that, since men are traditionally less well trained as caregivers, that they may not be as adept at the caregiver role, and this causes the seriously ill wives to request a divorce.

The advice of an attorney can be of great help to those who wish to avoid some of the most unpleasant ramifications of dissolution proceedings when one of the spouses is ill. It is in many cases preferable to attempt to negotiate a comprehensive settlement agreement that takes into account that factor rather than going through strenuous and lengthy litigation.

Source: Deseret News, ““Divorce more likely when wife has serious illness,” Lois M. Collins, March 6, 2105