Divorce risk increases when relationship is burdened with ill health

A recent study suggests that divorce is more likely when a woman suffers from a chronic illness within a heterosexual marriage.

In sickness and in health? Perhaps not. A recent study suggests that the risk of dissolution is much higher when a woman in a heterosexual relationship suffers from a chronic illness. This is especially true of older couples.

Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at how marriages are affected by chronic illness. The researchers analyzed 20 years of data and examined close to 3,000 marriages. When the study began, at least one partner in each relationship was over 50 years old.

The study specifically looked at the following ailments or conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease

Doing so, researchers discovered that approximately 30 percent of examined marriages ended in divorce when at least one partner suffered from an illness. Moreover, in 15 percent of the examined cases, the wife had become seriously ill.

Ironically, the study found that husbands developed chronic illnesses at higher rates than wives. Nevertheless, when the women were sick, the chance of divorce dramatically increased.

According to scholars, this study is especially unique because it examines the risk of divorce in marriages with individuals 50 and over. The divorce rate in this particular demographic has grown in the past two decades, according to Live Science.

Researchers associated with the study did not document whether women or men initiated the divorces. Nevertheless, prior research suggests that in most cases, the wife frequently files for dissolution when one member of the relationship is in poor health. While the study has no specific answer as to why divorce is more likely when a person is sick, one author of the study theorizes that when women become sick, they may feel as though their husbands are not sufficient caretakers.

Regardless of what issues lead to divorce, the truth is that the process is never easy. It usually comes equipped with property division matters, child support, spousal support, child custody, child visitation and other pressing issues. Moreover, if someone is going through the dissolution process and suffering from a chronic illness, stress can be compounded.

The importance of legal assistance

If you are struggling with a family law matter, it is always helpful to retain legal assistance. You do not have to go through the process alone. Moreover, if you are weary of court, there are other resolution options, which can help you move forward after the end of your relationship. To learn more about your rights and obligations, speak to a local family law attorney.

Keywords: divorce, sickness, women, health