Bright side to recession is lower divorce rates

Friday, March 16th, 2012 By

Just Divorced

Perhaps a good thing about recessions is that divorce rates are lower. Photo Credit: Jennifer Pahlka/Wikimedia Commons/CC-By-SA

Recessions are not something anyone enjoys and it seems that this one has been dragging on for quite a while. There is a silver lining of sorts, in that worse economic conditions have made divorce too expensive.

Expensive even in the best of times

Breaking up, as the song says, is hard to do. Aside from the emotional toll that comes with the dissolution of a marriage, there can also be a hefty financial burden. Granted, not every divorce is the same; some couples can easily divide assets without acrimony and without involving the courts. According to a Forbes article from 2006, an uncontested divorce can be accomplished by simply filing some paperwork, which can cost $250 or less.

However, if a couple does require arbitration or a court hearing, the costs become astronomical. Divorce law is a $28 billion business and a two-day divorce trial can cost up to $25,000 once court costs and attorney’s fees are involved. Arbitration is also expensive, running from $5,000 to $10,000 on average, and a mediated divorce can cost up to $5,000.

[Most personal loans won't cover the cost of a lawyer]

Luckily for the nation’s on-the-rocks marriages, there is one thing that helps drive down divorce rates: recessions.

Divorce rates consistently lower

Figures and estimates range, but consensus is that divorce rates have been much lower in recent years.

According to Slate, federal estimates are that the divorce rate fell from 3.6 divorces per 1,000 in 2007 to 3.4 per 1,000 in 2009. The National Marriage Project, an ongoing study of divorce data by the University of Virginia, found that the divorce rate fell by 24 percent in 2008 and again by 57 percent in 2009 and by 2010, according to CBS, had reached the lowest point in 30 years.

Is recession good for relationships?

The NMP also found, according to the Huffington Post, that 38 percent of surveyed couples had put off divorce due to recession and 29 percent of respondents believed the recession had strengthened their relationship.

According to Time magazine, a recent study by Lisa Diamond, a psychologist at the University of Utah, and Angela Hicks, of Westminster College, found that people whose current financial troubles were at least partially attributed to the down economy were more likely to have happy marriages.

Recovery means rate will go up

Though Yankee couples with money troubles were less likely to divorce, the opposite effect was observed across the pond. According to the Daily Mail, the Office of National Statistics, the statistical data wing of the British government, observed the first rise in the divorce rate since 2003 between 2009 and 2010, as 119,589 divorces were granted in England and Wales, compared to 113,949 in 2009, a 4.9 percent rise.

The recession may have caused some couples to re-commit or at least to postpone divorce due the costs involved, but experts believe that as economic conditions improve, the divorce rate will start to rise again, according to Reuters. Divorce rates dipped but returned to normal in states that had the smallest drops in unemployment and housing values.

Sources

Slate

Reuters

CBS

Time: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/03/16/its-not-you-honey-its-the-gdp-why-a-bad-economy-is-good-for-marriages/?iid=pf-main-lede

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/11/recession-divorce-rates-n_n_821752.html

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/07/divorce-costs-legal-biz-cx_lh_1107legaldivorce.html

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2071592/Recession-creates-spike-divorce-rate-rises-time-EIGHT-years.html

Previous Article

« Undergrads rally in D.C. to protest student loan hikes

More than 130,000 letters from college students were hand-delivered to Congress Tuesday, urging lawmakers to not allow the rate of student loans to double when Democrat-supported legislation from 2007 expires this summer. Congress says the nation cannot afford to keep the rates low. Democrats say it can’t afford not to. Lower [...] Student Loan
Next Article

Giveaways and bargains for St. Patrick Day »

It’s that time of the year again when we wear green, eat corned beef and honor that old snake-chaser St. Patrick of Ireland. It falls on Saturday this year, so many will be looking forward to some holiday cheer and maybe some green beer. But before the evening festivities begin, [...] St. Patrick's Day