Burke Levy, P.C.

How gender roles sometimes lead to family law needs

Massachusetts residents live in a time where gender roles have never been in more flux. Women are enjoying more equity in the workplace, and are often the primary breadwinners in the family. Men are also staying home to raise the kids more often than in decades past. While all of these changes can be viewed in a positive light, they can also throw some marriages out of balance, and can lead to a family law need if divorce seems likely. 

According to some relationship experts, marriages can falter when the existing gender roles shift. For example, if a couple assumes more traditional gender roles where the husband is the primary earner, the equilibrium can suffer if the wife suddenly begins earning more. Statistics suggest that women in that position file for divorce more often than those who remain in traditional roles. 

That may be due to partners not stepping up their own contributions when the dynamics shift. If one spouse is already handling most of the parenting and household duties and then takes on more in the workplace, there can be a great deal of resentment if the other partner doesn't assume more responsibilities at home. Even if there is no conscious effort to shirk duties, the tension can certainly build. 

Open and honest communication is one way to avoid resentment when gender roles shift. Couples who are able to voice their needs and restructure their responsibilities have a better chance of working things out than those who simply simmer quietly in resentment. In some cases, however, no amount of communication can address more serious underlying issues. 

For those in Massachusetts who feel that divorce may be on the horizon, speaking with a family law attorney can help them determine their next steps. Even if one partner is not fully ready to give up on the marriage, an attorney can discreetly provide advice on how to avoid common pitfalls if divorce does occur in the months or years ahead. That can make a big difference in how things are ultimately resolved. 

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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