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Older couples more likely to divorce if wife has chronic illness

For most people, the phrase "in sickness and in health" is part of the vows they say on their wedding day. A new study, however, shows that the meaning behind the phrase often isn't taken to heart if the woman in the marriage gets sick. Virginia readers might like to learn about the interesting outcome of the study.

The study, which will be presented at the annual Population Association of America meeting, looked at 2,717 couples in which at least one partner was 50 or older at the beginning of the study. The goal of the study, which considered 20 years of data, was to determine how a chronic illness, such as heart disease or cancer, affect the marriage.

All told, the study notes that 31 percent of the marriages ended in divorce. Interestingly, it found that in older couples, divorce was more likely if the wife fell ill than if the husband fell ill. The theories for this increase are varied. One of those theories is that the women feel they can rely on family members and friends for support through their illness. Another theory is that men don't feel like they are able to care for the woman.

Anyone who is going through a divorce might also have to deal with other mitigating factors. When those factors have to do with your health, the divorce can seem more stressful. Knowing your rights under Virginia law might help you to ensure that you get the divorce settlement you need that will allow you to care for yourself once the divorce is finalized.

Source:  Time.com, "Divorce More Likely When Wife Falls Ill" Alexandra Sifferlin, May. 01, 2014

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