Women in Florida are achieving substantial career success far more frequently than in the past, largely as a result of social changes that have advanced women’s involvement in the workplace. However, some of the social messages that have inhibited women’s achievement may continue to play a role in affecting interpersonal relationships. For example, one study shows that divorce is 33% more likely for couples in which the wife out-earns the husband. Of course, a number of issues that go beyond a disparity in income may contribute to divorce.
Some issues may be faced by all couples in which one spouse earns more than the other. The higher-earning partner may feel more entitled to make decisions about the family’s financial future, leaving the lower-earning partner feeling condescended to or excluded. At the same time, men are far less likely to be stay-at-home parents than women. This means that even when the wife is the higher earner, the husband is likely to have an outside income. Some people may feel pressured to stay in bad relationships and avoid divorce because they cannot support themselves financially, but this is less common in marriages where the wife earns more.
In addition, some men may receive damaging social pressure that challenges their masculinity if they earn less than their wives, even absent other problems in the marriage. These husbands may feel alienated from their wives and in some cases develop controlling behaviors that eventually lead to divorce, especially as higher-earning women face less pressure to remain in a failing relationship.
Regardless of the financial disparities that may exist in a relationship, divorce can come with significant economic impacts for both partners. A family law attorney may be able to help a divorcing spouse negotiate a fair settlement on divorce matters, including property division and spousal support.