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Study shows that recession affects divorce rate

Study shows that recession affects divorce rate

Date: December 04, 2012
In: Divorce

Divorce rates in Illinois and throughout the U.S. have been decreasing for several years. One of the reasons for the decrease is the recession. The study, which was conducted in 45 states, looked at divorce rates between 1978 and 2009. The study showed that the high unemployment rates and financial uncertainties during the recession years may have contributed to lower divorce rates.

The study shows that during the recession, couples refrained from divorcing despite their disputes because of the high cost of divorce proceedings and the financial disadvantage that they may have faced. The reason behind this is that couples tend to forget their differences and make extra efforts to save their marriage in difficult economic times to avoid financial hardships. The study says that financial hardship taught couples how marriage can support them socially and economically in hard times.

However, the study says that divorce rates did increase immediately when the recession began to slowly recover in 2009.

The idea that the recession affects divorce rates can be better understood by premise that “divorce is pro-cyclical.” The study shows that divorce and economic cycles travel in the same direction, that is, if the economic condition is good, divorce rates increase and if the economic condition is bad, divorce rates decrease.

The reason behind this cycle is that the divorcing couples always want financial security from their divorce. Additionally, the recession affected the price of properties, which, in turn, affected the primary marital asset’s market value. Divorcing couples depend a lot on the financial benefit that they get from property division to support themselves. Hence, the fall in real estate prices caused couples to divorce less as they preferred to wait until real estate prices increased.

However, if couples decide to stay married just because they can’t afford divorce they may subject themselves to more bitterness and may create a very unhealthy environment for children in the home. Moreover, some couples prefer to divorce despite the cost to gain some peace of mind.

Source: marquettetribune, “Divorce rates lower during recession,” Melanie Lawder, Nov. 20, 2012

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