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We See The Big Picture In Family Law

Wives’ higher incomes often motivate husbands to file for divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Divorce |

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics data published in 2019 shows that an estimated 38% of women generated a higher income than what their husbands did.

An article published that same year in MEL magazine highlighted how wide disparities between how much a wife and husband earn causes marriages to crumble. The article’s authors determined there’s a direct correlation between divorce and instances in which wives are the highest income earner in the household.

Why do inequitable salaries between spouses cause divorce?

The MEL researchers reviewed U.S. Census Bureau data and determined that husbands frequently report earning 2.9% more than their wives in cases in which they, as a male, have the higher income. The reverse happens with wives who earn the most in their household. Women tend to report earning 1.5% less income than they actually do when their spouses earn less.

Harvard University researchers conducted a study involving 6,300 couples in 2019. They discovered that instances in which a wife works full-time and the husband does not result in divorce 33% of the time.

Why do some men remain married even when they earn less than their wives?

Some men remain married despite earning less than their wives. The researchers argue that they do so due to their not being able to be financially self-sufficient.

Are disparate incomes between you and your spouse causing your marriage to unravel?

Income disparities have a tendency to breed jealousy, giving way to trust and resentment issues and otherwise making for an argument-prone and unhappy home life. These same matters often lead couples to divorce.

Divorces between spouses with inequitable incomes often become contentious because the lower-income earning spouse hopes to stake a claim to the higher-income earning husband’s or wife’s salary. The higher-income earning spouse then wants to preserve as much of what they earn for themselves.

Holding on to what’s yours isn’t likely to come easy. An attorney who is experienced in negotiating settlements in a divorce may be able to recommend strategies you can pursue to broker an ideal settlement.


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