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Study shows shifting gender roles can affect divorce risk

There are many reasons people end their marriages. The question many engaged couples or newlyweds ask is whether they can tell if their relationship is at risk for divorce. While it is impossible to conclude with certainty whether a marriage is destined to end, there are a few warning signs Ontario couples can consider based on recent studies.

According to a Swedish study which was recently published, gender roles can play a role in a marriage's risk factor. The study showed that couples who adhered to traditional roles earlier on in the relationship were more likely to divorce later on. As dynamics in the household change due to children or a woman's career progression, attitudes and expectations often did not shift causing tension.

When wives' careers pick up during the course of a marriage, it is not uncommon for men to feel threatened. They may feel as if their position in the family is being attacked. On the other end of the spectrum, they may respond by working less since their wives are carrying more of the financial load, without taking on a larger share of household responsibilities. 

The study shows that any change in gender roles throughout a marriage can threaten the relationship, particularly if roles were clearly defined in the beginning. Those who start out with more equal roles tend to fare better in marriage. However, for any couple, success is not guaranteed in marriage. Those facing a divorce in Ontario should speak with a lawyer about how changes to their financial situation and assets over the course of their marriage influence the final agreements.

Source: CNBC, "Why you may be more likely to get divorced and what you can do about it", Nanda Davis, April 24, 2018

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