Effects of Maternity Leave on Divorce Rates

Loving mother with her newborn baby on her arms. Beautiful mom with a cute sleeping new born child on nature outdoors. Baby's first week of life. Happy maternity leave. The effects maternity leave have on divorce rate

Maternity leave is a mother’s right, aiding both parent and child as they go through the early stages of childcare. However, there remains a large portion of America that has yet to understand just how beneficial this form of leave is despite various studies. The evidence, however, continues to show surprising benefits. 

As it turns out, maternity leave has a significant impact on divorce rates. This is especially true when fathers are allowed time off after their child is born, as well as the mother. Here’s how this simple company policy can change a family dynamic for the better. 

Lasting Benefits

Recent studies show that maternity leave policies create a lasting effect on family dynamics when both parents are allotted time off. Children feel closer to their fathers, mothers are less likely to need anti-anxiety medication, and even household chores become more equally divided. 

It isn’t difficult to imagine how these benefits can positively impact a marriage for heterosexual and homosexual couples alike. Previous attitudes thought that allowing both parents time off only offered a short-term effect on the couple, but this isn’t true. 

Even allowing the father a short period of leave drops the risk of divorce for a six-year period, long enough to see the child enter school. The benefits supported the passing of the FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Newer studies continue to uncover longer-lasting and intriguing benefits, though. 

With such a lasting and significant impact on divorce rates, it comes as a surprise that one spouse feels they can only take a few days off after their child is born. Despite 70 percent support amongst the nation, companies remain warry. That isn’t the only thing that stops new parents, however. 


The first and foremost reason that both parents do not take maternity is a simple lack of policy. There is no standard, mandated leave designated to parents. Some companies create strict requirements, such as working a minimum number of hours in the twelve months leading to birth. 

When leave is offered, many are reluctant to take it. A push for time off for fathers in California saw only modest success with many worrying about their professional reputation. For most, they felt it would affect their future earning potential. Companies offering maternity leave to the non-birthing spouse can view these employees as less committed. 

These obstacles lead to more divorces than you might think. While maternity leave isn’t the only reason behind separation, the stress it can cause tears couples apart. If you need a divorce attorney after trying every other option to make things work, don’t put off hiring one. 

Seeking Success

Canada, specifically Quebec, has shed light on how to make these policies a success and help lower the divorce rate. Their “daddy quota” allows time off for fathers, which lead more committed relationships. Partners followed suit with previous studies in sharing household chores, developing a deeper bond with their children, and even returned to work with more drive than ever. In average, they worked an extra hour per day upon return. 

The reality is clear. Offering maternity leave to both partners takes the financial stress out of the situation, allowing every member of the family to strengthen their bonds and look positively on their future together. While a lack of time off after having a child isn’t the only factor affecting divorce rates, changing this aspect of work culture is one sure fire way to bring the national average down.