Unemployed Dads Face Increased Likelihood of Divorce

Facing unemployment in this tough economy is challenging for anyone. For men, who still often feel the social pressure of being the primary breadwinner, it can be especially difficult. Families likely face financial strain and increased stress; a recent study also indicates that divorce is more frequent among couples where men are unemployed.

The study published in the American Journal of Sociology found that the unemployment of men, even more so than dissatisfaction with the relationship, is a predictor of divorce. Husbands who were unemployed were both more likely to have wives who left them and more likely to initiate divorce proceedings themselves. Women, however, were less likely to end their marriage if they were unemployed, and a woman's unemployment had no impact on the likelihood of her husband wanting a divorce.

Factors Contributing to Divorce for Men

Why is there a difference between how a couple reacts to a husband's unemployment versus a wife's? According to Liana Sayer, associate professor of sociology and lead author of the study, it is because there has been an "asymmetrical revolution" in the gender roles of men and women. She explains that, "Men are still held to an older standard than women and penalized by employers and stigmatized if they are doing what's perceived as women's work."

Depression is another related issue that may contribute to a divorce. A recent study warned that men who became unemployed during the recession may have a higher risk for depression than women. This may stem from the fact that their self-esteem is more closely tied to fulfilling the financial provider role they may feel society expects of them.

Recent Unemployment Trends for Men

Men have also felt the job losses the hardest in the recent recession, and continue to have a higher unemployment rate on the national level than women. Things may be looking up, however, as men have now regained roughly 28 percent of the over six million jobs they lost. According to the Missouri Department of Labor, as of July, there were over 4,000 more unemployed women than men in the state.

An Attorney Can Assist a Man Going Through Divorce

Unemployed men facing divorce may be in a particularly vulnerable situation. If you are out of work and contemplating a divorce, contact an experienced Missouri divorce attorney. A knowledgeable family law attorney can work to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.