Couples tying the knot in California generally have a mutual desire to stick by one another no matter what life together brings. However, when serious health-related issues affect women, research suggests that their marriages may be more likely to come to an end. Multiple clinical studies have found that women diagnosed with cancer are at a higher risk for divorce than men with cancer. Results from another study show that women with stroke and heart problems are also more likely to see their marriages end than men with similar conditions.

As for why men tend to be more likely to seek out a family law attorney to discuss divorce than women when a spouse is ill, one theory is that women typically provide more support and care for their significant others. When a wife is no longer able to provide such benefits, some men prefer to walk away from a marriage. Also, women are more likely to have a wider support circle of friends and family members than men, who often rely on their wives to fill this role.

Interestingly, same-sex couples tend to have less conflict when one spouse is ill than what’s seen with different-sex couples. On a side note, this research is largely based on older individuals who are more likely to revert to traditional gender roles. Couples with relationships that are more modern and equitable may not experience similar circumstances. There are also situations where marriages are strengthened when couples jointly share the burden of one spouse’s illness.

If a spouse is considering a divorce because of a partner’s illness, an attorney may suggest exploring options with marital counseling first. Should there be a desire to proceed with a divorce, a lawyer may initiate a joint effort to work out a fair settlement agreement. Negotiations may also include spousal or child support payments for a lower-earning spouse who will have or seek sole or joint custody of children not of legal age. Even if a split is fairly amicable, it may be helpful for a divorcing spouse to have an attorney look over any mutually agreed upon documents to ensure that their rights are protected.