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Recession and Couples: A reluctant marriage

March 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Divorce, Family Law

Divorce and Recession, Strange Bedfellows

A recent article out of Marquette university researchers found evidence that recessions may in fact prevent divorce.  For many this is counterintuitive: Struggling finances are generally associated with marital stress.

Divorce rates have been in steady decline, but dropped markedly during the recession of 2007-2009.  The study researcher, Abdur Chowdhury, guessed that the cost of divorce, the economic disadvantages of running two households, and the increase in homes that are not worth their loans, all forced some couples to stay together, even if perhaps they didn’t want to.  This is also coupled with the difficulty that many had finding gainful employment, full-time employment, or employment at higher wages.

The study further shows that divorce rates increased when the economy started to recover slowly in 2009.  Mr. Chowdhury argued this reflected the “pent-up demand” for divorce that was finally able to release.

The researcher put it plainly, “Many couples simply do not have enough money necessary to support themselves separately and pay for other financial obligations.  As a result, many couples that wanted to separate and divorce had either put their cases on hold and remained together out of economic necessity or were looking for more creative and cost-efficient means by which to separate and divorce.”

In regard to housing prices he added, “A second major reason that divorces are being delayed is directly related to the depressed housing market …”, “In the past, divorcing couples often used equity that they build up in their marital residence to fund their divorce and provide each of them with a nest egg to begin their separate lives.”

As many know, home prices have dropped significantly in recent years and many homeowners unfortunately have little, no, or negative equity in their homestead.

Reducing the Cost of Divorce

For those in Minnesota still interested in divorce, this emphasizes the importance of finding a Minnesota divorce lawyer who will work with you to get through the divorce process fairly yet reasonably conflict-free, if possible.  The more contentious a divorce is, the more costly it is.

For anyone interested, a link to the published article can be found here for a fee.  A free version of a working draft can be found here.