Economy Affects Divorce Rates

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Economy Affects Divorce Rates
Divorce rates go down in an economic downturn.

A bad economy takes a toll on marriage. Whether your spouse has lost a job, your stock portfolio has lost value or you're unable to pay your mortgage, financial crises can create new pressures within a marriage and exacerbate old ones. With couples facing so much stress, you'd think that the divorce rate would go up during times of economic hardship—in fact it's just the opposite.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce rates go down in a bad economy. In new survey conducted by the divorce attorneys' organization, 37% of respondents said they manage fewer divorce cases during an economic downturn; 19% said they see an increase.

YourTango wrote about this phenomenon in our piece "Is Divorce Becoming A Luxury?", in which we interviewed couples and attorneys about how the recent market turmoil is affecting their decisions to stay together or split up.

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Nine months ago, Rachel Gund (some names have been changed), 44, decided she wanted to divorce her husband of nearly 20 years. But nine months later, she continues living under the same roof with him and their two teenage daughters: Neither partner afford to move out so they live like roommates, sharing the marital home and dividing the expenses.  

Sound far-fetched? Not really, say attorneys and therapists who are seeing more couples delaying divorce filings and physical separation due to the economic recession. In many cases, couples can’t sell their homes because of the soft real estate market. In others, one or both partners has suffered a job loss. Often, there’s a mountain of shared debt that must be cleared before a split can occur.

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