Study: Divorce More Likely When Wife Gets Sick

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | May 05, 2014 | 0 Comments

In sickness and in health, marriage is supposed to keep a couple together. Unfortunately, life circumstances, including illness, can cause a couple to drift apart and file for divorce. While every situation is unique, a recent study at the University of Michigan revealed that 31 percent of marriages end when one partner is sick. Of these cases, it was much more likely for a couple to divorce if the wife was ill, and not the man.


According to the report, the risk of divorce is higher in older couples when the wife becomes ill. While at least 75% of couples with chronic disease end in divorce, the 20 years of data suggest that divorce is more likely when the woman is ill and not the man. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys are aware of divorce trends that may impact the lives of our clients. We are also abreast of developments that may be interesting to our clients who are facing divorce. If you or someone you love is facing illness and divorce, an experienced advocate can help sort through the challenges and best protect your rights and interests.

According to research that analyzed 20 years of data and over 2,700 marriages, at least one of the partners was over 50 at the start of the study. This means that the researchers were primarily targeting older couples and were particularly looking for marriages where one partner suffered from stroke, lung disease, cancer, or heart disease. The researchers then looked at how the illness impacted the marriage. On a basic level, researchers found that in couples where illness played a role, 31% of the marriages ended in divorce. Even though men were more likely to get sick, divorces were more likely when the female fell ill. According to this and other studies, divorce is even more likely if the wife suffers a chronic or fatal illness.

Researchers posited several theories. Perhaps men are social not expected or prepared to become caretakers. It is also common for women to initiate the divorce, so it is possible that women feel their husbands are not providing enough support. For some extremely ill women, health can significantly impact the rates of divorce and some women need additional help in caring for themselves, their children, as well as ailing parents. This can also mean an increase in financial expenditures, which can raise stress levels in any marriage.

If you or your spouse suffer from an illness and feel that the burden has caused significant stress in your marriage, you are not alone. For some couples, an illness can change the dynamics of a relationship so much that a marriage becomes untenable. No one should feel guilty about exploring divorce options if the marriage is no longer a positive support system. Our attorneys understand the difficulties faced by our clients and will take the time to explore your rights and options. If divorce is the best option for you and your family, we will provide strategic support to protect your rights and interests.

Contact Birmingham divorce and family law attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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