If you are a married man who just lost his job, be warned: Your marriage could be on the rocks soon. Studies show that the husband’s unemployment can put the marriage at risk and cause a lot of tension that can eventually lead to divorce. While marital strain also increases when a woman loses her job, divorces are more common when the man loses his job.
A study of heterosexual couples showed that men who were unemployed or working just part time were 33% more likely to divorce within the year than husbands who worked full-time jobs. This is due to stereotypes. When men are not fulfilling their breadwinner role by being employed full-time, this places stress on a marriage. After all, no job or a job with limited hours means less income or no income at all, and money is undoubtedly a huge factor in marriage. In fact, it is one of the major causes of divorce, so it’s no surprise that unemployment and divorce are connected.
However, the loss of income is not the only issue that unemployed men face in their marriages. Also contributing to the divorce is the psychological destruction that men face when they lose their job. A man’s success is tied primarily to his job. Therefore, when a man loses his job, he faces a lot of stress. There is a lot of pressure to get a new job right away. When he does not get a new job in a short amount of time, it affects him mentally. Men start to lose their pride and sense of purpose. Their lives become unstable. They start to get a lot of criticism and negativity from their wives, who start to think they are lazy and unmotivated. This often manifests into anxiety and depression. This makes it difficult for men to move forward after suffering from job loss.
Another issue is the contributions (or lack thereof) in a household by the unemployed husband. If the man cannot find suitable employment, then at the very least, he should be expected to contribute more to the household. He should be involved in the child care, cooking, cleaning and errands, especially if the wife must now become the breadwinner. However, this does not always happen. The man may spend a few hours a day looking for jobs, while treating most of his time as a vacation. He may spend the rest of his day watching TV, playing video games or hanging out with friends. When the woman is expected to both work and take care of the home, this makes the marriage unbalanced and unfair to the wife. This causes even more resentment in the deteriorating marriage.
Both parties often must deal with identity crises. The man is no longer the breadwinner, which can make him depressed. If he does not get a job quickly, he may feel doomed that he will never work again. This can seriously impact his self-esteem. The woman may have to suddenly become the breadwinner, which can lead to resentment. She may feel upset about having to leave her place in the home so she can work and support the family. There may also be disagreements about purchases. Money becomes tight, so the focus is now on what they can and cannot buy. Which bills do they have to pay? Which ones can they delay? This often creates added tension that causes the marriage to crumble and lead to divorce.
Barriers to Divorce
The unemployed man would rarely seek a divorce in this situation, since ending the marriage would cause the financial situation to worsen. However, the frustrations involved with unemployment can cause the wife to seek divorce. When the man is unemployed, though, getting a divorce can be a bit more difficult than normal. First of all, it becomes a Catch-22, since you need money to divorce. When the man has no money coming in, it can be hard to pay lawyer’s fees and court costs. He may have to borrow money from friends or family members, which can cause his self-esteem to plummet further.
Also, unemployment limits resources. The man’s lack of income may have led the family to sell items of value. They may have had to sell a vehicle, stocks, family heirlooms, collectibles and jewelry to make money. There may be disputes about the remaining assets and the judge is more likely to award more assets to the unemployed man, which can increase tension even more.
Since the man will need as much financial assistance as possible, the wife may be on the hook for paying alimony and even child support. If the woman does get custody of the children, it will likely be costly for her, as she will have to pay for child care while at work. On top of that, her ex-husband will not have the financial resources to pay child support, so divorce becomes a financial loss overall.
Seek Legal Help
Losing a job can be stressful for a marriage. While many people are able to bounce back quickly and find new employment quickly, many have trouble. This causes them to feel depressed and these personality changes, combined with a lack of income, often contribute to the decline of a marriage.
If unemployment is threatening your marriage, contact Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We can assist you in the divorce process, no matter the reason. Schedule a consultation with our office today. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.