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Divorce for the sick may not be so uncommon after all

Many couples in New York say, "I do," with the intention of weathering the difficult times side by side. There may be a multitude of issues through which couples can trek without a hitch, but a recent study indicated that there might be some problems that people simply are not able to overcome and instead decide to divorce. Namely, what happens when a spouse gets sick?

Exactly who gets sick and when is important to consider when asking a question such as this. For instance, is a wife being diagnosed with a serious illness more likely to lead to divorce than a sick husband? A study focused on couples aged 51 and older overwhelming says, "yes."

So why is that? Researchers narrowed the study down to a few different factors, including satisfaction with care. Healthy spouses typically become the main caregiver, and wives in the 20-year-long study rated a lower overall satisfaction with the care that they received from their husbands. Taking over responsibilities that were once split between two people can also place additional strain on a marriage. 

Of course, the results of this study do not necessarily mean that a couple will divorce the moment that one party is diagnosed with a serious illness, but there is an increased risk. Whether a couple chose to marry later in life or have already weathered decades together, the prospect of late-in-life diseases may pose unforeseen complications. If New York couples chose to forego a prenuptial agreement but, in the wake of this study's results, feel as though some type of marital contract may be beneficial, it is still possible to discuss and enter into a post-marital agreement that may provide protection should health concerns eventually lead to divorce.

Source:, "Marriage more likely to end in divorce when wives get sick, according to ISU study", March 4, 2015

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