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A wife's illness can lead to divorce

Caring for someone who is ill is often time-consuming and expensive, frequently taking a toll on intimate relationships. A recent study now shows that marriages in which a wife becomes seriously ill are at greater risk of divorce than marriages where the husband becomes ill or both spouses remain healthy. Married couples in New Jersey may want to be aware of how a wife's illness can affect a marriage.

In the study, researchers at Iowa State University and Purdue examined 2,701 marriages and observed a 6 percent difference in divorce rates between couples in which a wife became ill and in which the wife remained healthy. The researchers stated that there might be many reasons for this difference, including the stress of caregiving, shifts in marital roles and financial pressures.

The researchers were not able to determine which party initiated the divorce in cases where the wife became ill. However, one of the researchers noted that wives report being less satisfied with their husband's caregiving efforts. She also suggested that this dissatisfaction might cause wives to file for divorce. Experts recommend that married couples who are coping with a serious illness in the family consider counseling as they negotiate the stresses and changes that they experience.

Couples who are coping with illness and caregiving issues may eventually decide that divorce is in the best interest of their family. These individuals may want to talk to a family law attorney. An experienced divorce lawyer may be able to assist the couple in understanding their rights and responsibilities in a divorce. In addition, the attorney might be able to review and advise on previous agreements, child custody and finances.

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