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Divorce is more likely when wife is seriously ill

Colorado residents should be aware that in marriages where the wife has a serious illness, the rate of divorce increases, according to studies. When John Edwards and Newt Gingrich received criticism for divorcing their sick wives, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State became interested in the correlation between illness and divorce. She and fellow researchers published a study that reportedly found a 6-percent increase in the rate of divorce for couples with an ill wife.

According to the study, which followed 2,701 marriages over nearly two decades between 1992 and 2010, an ill husband does not increase the rate of divorce. Of the 2,701 marriages followed, 32 percent ended in divorce, while 24 percent ended in widowhood. Each couple included an individual age 50 or older when the study began. Divorce was more common among younger couples, while widowhood was more common among older couples. The lead author of the study theorized that the increased rate of divorce could be attributed to the stress of having to care for an ill wife while also managing financial and household duties alone.

The study did not note whether husbands or wives were more likely to initially seek a divorce. The author noted that men have not been socialized as much as women to be caregivers, so the wife may be unhappy with the care her husband provides or the husband may simply be dissatisfied in the role of caregiver.

There are many things to consider when one is looking to file for a divorce. A knowledgeable divorce attorney might be able to assist individuals in planning and negotiating important issues like child support, spousal support and division of property.

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