Recently, I posted a blog titled “Stay-At-Home Dads Are More Likely To Divorce In Miami.” However, Al Watts, President of Daddyshome, Inc., the national At-Home Dad Network and home to the 16th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Washington DC on October 8, 201, does not believe it is accurate that stay-at-home dads are more likely to divorce.
Time’s Healthland was the first to report that “stay-at-home dads are more likely to divorce.” There report was based on a study led by Dr. Liana Sayer of Ohio State University. Published in the American Journal of Sociology, the study found that married men who are unemployed are more likely to divorce than men who are working.
After reading the summary of the study, Watts found it strange that the study did not mention stay-at-home dads or even whether any of the men were fathers. He decided to contact Dr. Sayer.
“The study doesn’t include a measure of ‘stay-at-home’ dads,” Dr. Sayer replied in an email originally sent by Watts. She further stated, “All we know is if the husband is unemployed and the (lagged) number of months unemployed.”
Watts then spoke to Bonnie Rochman who wrote the article for Time’s Healthland. He found out that she believes all stay-at-home dads are unemployed so she concluded that the study was about stay-at-home dads.
She was wrong.
First of all, the study was about married men. They never asked if any of them were fathers. If you do not have any kids, Watts does not think you would be considered an “at-home dad” when you get laid off.
Secondly, not all married dads have young children at home to take care of. Some of them surely have high school or college-aged children. Some may even be married to a stay-at-home mother who remains at home with the kids while the husband looks for a job, and apparently, a Broward divorce attorney.
Third, it is a complete myth that stay-at-home dads are unemployed. Most men who are the primary caregivers of their children are, in fact employed. The latest U.S. Census reports that 154,000 men are stay-at-home fathers but that only includes men who earn no income for one year or go to school while caring for the kids. Most demographers put the real number around 2 million which means up to 90% of at-home dads work, at least part-time and some full time.
Finally, men become stay-at-home dads for many reasons. Watts started staying home because he and his wife wanted one of them at home with the kids. His wife had better career options. Some dads choose to stay home because they do not want to miss out on their children’s lives. Some are forced into it when they lose their job. Watts believes that to say “Stay-at-home dads are more likely to divorce” is saying that all stay-at-home dads, regardless of why they chose to stay home, are more likely to divorce. To him, that just doesn’t make sense.
“I do think (based some on my research) that of course men who become stay at home dads purely based on job loss and not other reasons have their challenges,” says Dr. Aaron Rochlen, associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of two recent extensive studies on stay-at-home fathers. However, after reviewing Dr. Sayer’s research, Dr. Rochlen concluded that “it is ridiculous the connection they (Time) are making” between stay-at-home fathers and divorce.
And Time agreed.
The headline of the Time article now accurately states “Unemployed Men are More Likely to Divorce.”
So, if your husband is, or becomes, a stay-at-home dad, it is not any more likely you will end up divorced.
If your husband loses his job, however, there is a slightly higher chance you may end up retaining a divorce attorney in Fort Lauderdale to address your child support, alimony and parenting plan matters.