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Divorce rate higher for women who become ill

A new study has found a surprising link between medical conditions and the risk of divorce in the United States. The risk of divorce increases when wives become ill. However, the risk of divorce does not increase when a husband's health declines, according to the study by the University of Michigan and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. 

The researchers looked at marriages involving two healthy spouses between 1992 and 2010 to see how life-threatening illnesses impact the divorce rate. The researchers reported that 47 percent of couples had a new medical condition during their marriage and 31 percent of couples got divorced. Another 24 percent of marriages resulted in one spouse passing away during this time frame. 

One of the biggest findings of the study was the impact gender had on the risk of divorce when one spouse becomes ill. The study found that in marriages where the wife became ill, the divorce rate increased due to 15 percent of these marriages ending in divorce. On the other hand, the study found no increase in divorce when husbands became sick. Another interesting finding was that women who suffered from lung disease or heart problems had the highest risk of divorce.

The researchers did not provide any specific reasons why the divorce rate is higher for couples where the wife becomes ill, but they did say that gender norms and expectations could play a role. Older men may not think they are capable or should take care of their wives if they become sick. Rather, a caregiver may be better suited to care for their ailing wife.

Older women and men in Arizona getting divorced should be aware of how divorce will impact their finances, especially if either spouse has any medical conditions. Asset division proceedings and spousal support awards may need to take the costs of medical care and treatment into consideration and it is best to be prepared for how the divorce proceedings could change your lifestyle and monthly budget. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "Wives Who Fall Ill Are At Greater Risk For Divorce Than Men, New Study Says," Taryn Hillin, May 1, 2014

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