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Sickness could increase divorce rate for some age groups

Most traditional wedding vows include a promise about remaining together "in sickness and in health," with a relationship expected to end only in the event of death. However, over the course of the years, many people in Mississippi come to realize that a marriage is no longer functioning or healthy and choose to seek a divorce. A recent study apparently shows that the risk of divorce is higher for men and women after the age of 51 if the wife becomes ill.

As part of the study, researchers examined data from 1992 through 2010 related to approximately 2,700 married couples.  Data regarding same-sex couples was not included in the study. According to the results, when women over the age of 51 were diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, a stroke, heart disease or lung disease, a divorce was more likely. There was no increase in the likelihood of divorce if the husband became seriously ill.

While documenting this increased divorce rate, the study was unable to pinpoint the reason divorce was more likely. However, researchers have several theories. First, being a caregiver for a person with a serious illness can be physically and emotionally draining, and many men are not conditioned by society to be a caregiver. Also, many women report that they are less satisfied with the care provided by their spouse, as opposed to men who are cared for by their wife. Additionally, facing a serious illness could make one more aware of unhappiness in their life, prompting them to seek a happier situation.

Divorces happen in Mississippi for a variety of different reasons. In many cases, the decision to divorce is the best option for all involved. While the process may seem daunting, many couples are able to resolve their issues quietly and amicably without a messy court battle. The best first step is typically for each party to retain separate legal counsel in order to address the issues involved in dissolving the marriage.

Source: The Washington Post, "In sickness and health: Wife's serious illness increases chance of divorce later in life; husband's doesn't", Lenny Bernstein, March 6, 2015

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