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Can a Promotion Increase the Likelihood of Divorce?

BusinessTravel.jpgFinding the balance between a successful professional career and a happy, fulfilling personal life can be difficult, especially for women.

According to a new study that examines divorce rates of male and female CEOs, doctors, police officers, and politicians, women who are promoted to higher levels in their field are more likely to divorce following the promotion than men in the same situation.

Promotions have a personal price

The findings revealed that women were roughly twice as likely to divorce after a high-level promotion than men.

Top-tier employees experience stress, long work hours, frequent travel and other realities of high-level jobs that naturally put more strain on a marriage. Researchers suggest that this strain impacts women more than men because the shift in power highlights mismatched expectations and confusion over social and economic gender roles still inbedded in our society.

How this might affect the divorce process

When any successful person divorces, there can be a lot at stake: e.g., real estate, business assets, investment portfolios, and high-value personal property. And when that high-performance employee is also a parent, he or she can face scrutiny over the amount of time and attention he or she is able to devote to parenting.

Unfortunately, property division and custody matters, which are already complicated, can be even more stressful when outdated beliefs and traditional gender roles (and role reversals) clash. To some, a CEO mother may not appear to be as devoted to parenting as a stay-at-home mother. And if a husband had trouble with his wife's success and role as the primary breadwinner, that bitterness could make the divorce process especially contentious.

The findings that powerful women may be at a higher risk for divorce combined with the complexities of high-asset divorces can mean that people in these situations are especially confused about their options and rights. Under these circumstances, legal guidance and support can be vital.

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