The gendered meanings of assets for divorce

Personal Finance February 07, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF


Dew, J. (2009). The gendered meanings of assets for divorce. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 30(1), 20-31.

Brief Description: Although scholars have known for decades that financial assets relate to a lower likelihood of divorce, no one has explained why. This study finds that wives’ characteristics completely drove the relationship between assets and divorce. Assets helped wives be more satisfied with their marriage and, thus, less likely to divorce. Assets also decreased the attractiveness of divorce, because wives realized that divorce would force them to give up some of their assets and their current standard of living.

Implications: Assets are related to a lower likelihood of divorce; even low levels of assets are better than none. Practitioners working to strengthen marriages might find ways to help couples build financial management skills, in addition to helping them with relationship issues such as trust and communication.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.