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Study: Health problems are divorce risks for Ohio wives

Older Columbus spouses may have very different needs in post-marital life than younger spouses. Spouses who choose to end a marriage at a younger age often prioritize child support and custody, while older spouses focus on marital property division and, when applicable, spousal support.

Spouses who divorce young in life have time on their side. Decades of earnings potential allows divorced, reasonably healthy individuals to replenish assets and savings. Spouses in or near retirement age may not find self-sustaining employment or develop health problems that prevent earning income.

A new study, presented at a recent Population Association of America meeting, indicates married women take on the greater risk when either spouse becomes ill. University researchers followed more than 2,700 marriages from 1992 to 2010 and tracked changes.

A significant spousal illness affected 47 percent of the study group. By the completion of the research, 55 percent of the marriages ended in divorce or with a spouse's death. Thirty-one percent divorced and 24 percent were widowed, while 45 percent stayed married.

Health and Retirement Study researchers learned divorces were more prevalent when wives were diagnosed with health problems. The quality of a marriage was not affected significantly when the ill spouse was the husband. Women also were the likelier of the genders to become widowed.

The divorce rate was 15 percent in marriages where wives became ill and among women who suffered lung or heart conditions. Reasons for the disparity between gender illness and divorce was not conclusive. Researchers suggested older male spouses were not prepared or societally conditioned to be caretakers of their wives.

Age, employability and spousal health are among factors Ohio judges use to determine whether individuals have the ability to pay or the need to receive spousal support. A divorce attorney will analyze spousal support claims during divorce and calculate the effects, including tax implications, on future finances.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Wives Who Fall Ill Are At Greater Risk For Divorce Than Men, New Study Says" Taryn Hillin, May. 01, 2014

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