When wives have a higher income than their husbands, husbands often want out

by | Apr 12, 2021 | Divorce

Data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019 showed that at least 38% of women now earn more than their spouses. This index doesn’t appear to sit well with male spouses. 

A 2019 study published in MEL magazine captured how income disparities between husbands and wives don’t often bode well for a marriage’s longevity. The study’s authors discovered that the more wives earn over their husbands, the more apt they are to divorce.  

How often are inequitable salaries a contentious issue in a marriage?

The article’s authors analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data. They discovered that husbands often report making 2.9% more income than their wives when they’re the ones with the higher income. A reverse trend holds true when wives are their household’s breadwinner. Wives under-report their income by an average of 1.5% when their husbands earn less. 

Researchers at Harvard University conducted 6,300 interviews with couples culminating in a report in 2019. They determined that marriages in which the wife has a full-time job while the husband does not are 33% more likely to end in divorce. Some of the men who do stay married, per the researchers, do so only because they cannot support their lifestyle on their own.

What to know about disparate income divorce cases

It probably goes with being stated, but income disparities often give way to contentious divorces no matter who has the bigger or lesser income. A spouse who is chronically under-employed may end up seeking more than they’re really due — and that can put your paycheck, assets or business in danger. 

If you’re about to go through a divorce with a spouse who has less income or financial resources than you, take steps to protect yourself. Speak with an experienced attorney right away.