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Higher-Earning Moms Have 80 Pct Lower Divorce Rate

Update Date: Feb 18, 2014 06:39 PM EST

Families where mothers bring in bigger paychecks than fathers are less likely to split up, according to researchers.

The latest study reveals that families are 60 percent less likely to split up when mothers earn 20 percent more money than fathers compared to those where the father is the highest earning.

Researchers found that the effect is even more pronounced if the couple is married. The findings revealed that the risk of a couple divorcing was 80 percent lower if the mother earned 20 percent more than the father.

Researchers said the latest study, which involved nearly 4,000 British couples with young children, goes against previous findings that higher-earning mothers are more likely to get divorced or separated.

"Sociological and economic theories have long predicted that women's increased economic independence would undermine the institution of marriage.

'Previous studies of married couples in the UK provided evidence that women's higher earnings increased the risk of divorce," said Dr. Shireen Kanji of Leicester University, according to the Daily Mail. "We found that influential theories that a woman's higher earnings elevate the risk of divorce are unfounded among contemporary parents in the UK."

However, the survey found that the number of higher-earning mothers drop off quickly after a child is born. The proportion of mothers who earn 20 percent more than fathers dropped from 6 percent to 3.8 percent by the time a child turned five. The study also found that the number of women who earned the same as their husbands or boyfriends dropped from 11 percent to 4.3 percent during the first five years of having a baby.

"Our findings show that equal earning, and a mother being a main earner, are not destabilizing influences on relationships, even at an intense time of childcare responsibilities," Kanji said. 

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