Pennsylvania residents are likely aware that many doctors work long hours and cope with high levels of stress while on the job, and they may believe that this would lead to a higher divorce rate among physicians. However, a study recently published found that doctors actually divorce at a lower rate than other medical professionals.

Researchers asked 40,000 doctors and approximately 200,000 nurses, dentists, pharmacists and health care executives about their marriages, and they found that only 24 percent of doctors said that they had gone through a divorce. While dentists and pharmacists divorced at similar rates, the figures for health care executives and nurses were higher. The marriages of health care executives ended in divorce 31 percent of the time, and the divorce rate among nurses was 33 percent.

The researchers also noted that female doctors divorced about 50 percent more often than their male colleagues. The researchers believe that this is a result of the sacrifices that women often make when pursuing a career. The workload of physicians also seems to impact marriages differently for men and women. Female doctors who worked in excess of 40 hours each week divorced at a higher rate than those who worked fewer hours, but male doctors with more forgiving schedules were more likely to divorce.

Even the most amicable of divorces may become contentious when matters such as spousal support and property division are discussed, and this may be particularly true for professionals who have spent years building a practice. A family law attorney may have experience with difficult divorce negotiations and thus could provide a perspective that allows a client to reach a negotiated settlement and avoid the uncertainty of court proceedings.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Doctors Less Likely to Divorce, Study Finds”, Robert Preidt, Feb. 19, 2015