Marriages less likely to last when wives earn more than husbands

Some men in Tennessee are perfectly fine with being stay-at-home dads or having a wife who earns more. However, not all men have this attitude even though nearly 40% of wives earn more than their husbands according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Census Bureau stats also show that when a wife is the higher-earning spouse, her income is reported for census purposes at nearly 2 percentage points lower than it really is.

Greater social and cultural forces still place a higher value on husbands who make more than their wives. There's some research showing that couples are less likely to marry or more likely to split when the man isn't the higher earner. Conflicting research suggests that even when the wife earns more, couples are likely to stay together; this may be because of an inability to afford to live separately or because the higher-earning spouse has health insurance and similar factors.

A study of more than 6,000 couples found that old-fashioned views on marriage still prevail. Researchers discovered that the divorce risk is nearly 35% higher in situations where a husband isn't working full time. Attitudes passed down from parents, the male ego and peer pressure are some of the theories floating around to explain reasons for the persistent belief that husbands should be the main breadwinner.

Regardless of which spouse happens to earn more, a divorce lawyer typically attempts to reach a fair settlement agreement when it's time to split assets. If the lower-earning spouse is being represented by a lawyer, spousal support may be sought to allow a soon-to-be-ex to adjust to post-divorce life without unreasonable hardships. The spouse who has custody of the children may seek similar compensation if they earn less.

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