Study: older couples’ divorce risk increases when wife is ill

On Behalf of | May 6, 2014 | Divorce

A recent study indicates that, for older couples, one thing that might lead to an increased divorce risk is if the wife comes down with a serious illness.

The subjects of the study were 2,717 married couples in which at least one of the members had an age that exceeded 50. In the study, researchers looked at whether either of the partners developed stroke, cancer, lung disease or heart disease and, if they did, what impacts having these serious illnesses had on divorce risk. The study’s data covered a period of around 20 years.

In the study, the researchers found that the couples in which the wife had one of the above-mentioned serious illnesses had an increased divorce risk. The researchers did not find this same increased risk for couples in which the husband developed one of these illnesses.

One wonders why this is the case. One of the study’s researchers postulates that issues with how well husbands are doing at acting as caregivers for their sick wives could be behind the increased divorce risk.

Thus, it appears that serious illness can sometimes play a significant role in bringing a divorce about.

Regardless of whether or not the illness played a role in the divorce coming about, when a person who has a serious illness is in divorce proceedings, there are many financial issues that it can be very important for them to be mindful of. One is how the divorce will affect their medical insurance. Another is how property will be divided in the divorce and whether any spousal support will be granted. Given how many expenses having a serious illness can lead to a person facing, what sort of financial settlement/arrangement is reached in a divorce can be very impactful on such a person. Divorce attorneys understand how different circumstances, such as illness, can affect what sorts of issues will be major ones in a divorce and can take this into account when developing a strategy to help a divorcing individual with divorce proceedings and negotiations.

Source:, “When Wives Get Sick, Risk of Divorce Rises, Study Says,” Martta Kelly, May 1, 2014