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Will the improving economy increase the divorce rate?

| Jan 31, 2014 | Divorce |

Financial difficulties can take a huge toll on a marriage, so the results of a new study may come as a surprise. The findings show that the number of couples filing for divorce has actually risen as the national economy recovers from the economic troubles of 2008 and 2009. According to “Population Research and Policy Review,” the divorce rate dropped as we went into a recession, but has gradually risen again as the economy has improved.

The two trends are related because some couples may have wanted to split up but simply couldn’t afford to. Maybe they needed both incomes to get by, or perhaps one spouse was unemployed or underemployed. It generally takes more money for two people to live separately than together, so there may have been practical financial considerations for staying under the same roof.

Divorce does cost money, and if it’s a contentious one, that cost is not insignificant for people that are financially burdened. If you’re already worried about your job or financial situation, you may not want to add the cost of a divorce to the mix. As financial concerns have eased up for many Americans, couples may feel ready to finally deal with a marriage that isn’t working.

A number of researchers, however, caution that the link between a bad economy and a lower divorce rate may not be so clear-cut. For example, individual state divorce rates and unemployment rates do not necessarily correspond. However, another fallout of a poor economy – home foreclosures – do seem to increase divorce rates, particularly among college graduates.

One researcher noted that the longer a recession continues, the more likely many people are to move forward with a divorce if they don’t see their financial situation changing soon. The economic recovery is coming more quickly for some in North Dakota and nationwide than others, who may still feel that they are in the midst of a recession. Therefore, despite the overall numbers, “the jury is still out” on whether the recession/divorce correlation is real, according to a writer for the Pew Research Center, .

While economic factors are important when contemplating a marital breakup, there are other significant considerations, like what is emotionally healthier for the couple and their children. Divorce attorneys can work with couples to help a divorce go as smoothly as possible financially and emotionally.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Divorces rise as economy recovers, study finds” Emily Alpert Reyes, Jan. 27, 2014

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