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Massachusetts divorce more likely as economy recovers

Couples in Massachusetts make a wide range of choices based on economic factors. Many put off major home improvements or family vacations when times are tough, others pare down household expenses such as electricity consumption or cut the cable television bill. A recently released study suggests that this type of financially-motivated decision making also extends to bigger issues, including the decision to file for divorce.

The study looks at divorce statistics from 45 states over a 31 year timeframe. That data is aligned with economic statistics from the same years. Researchers found that when the American economy falters, divorce rates fall. This is likely the result of spouses deciding that a split is simply not financially feasible. Many will buckle down and try to work through their differences when times are tough, in the same way that they will cut costs associated with their lifestyles to keep a healthy bottom line.

Surveys taken by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia suggest that as many as 38 percent of respondents who were considering divorce put those plans on hold when the economy worsened. However when the economy began to recover in 2009, the divorce rate began to climb again. This suggests that the effort to make an unhappy marriage work is not always successful.

Massachusetts couples who are considering divorce should keep in mind that financial stability is possible even following a split. When a marriage becomes unsustainable, the benefits of moving on and seeking future happiness is almost always worth the stress and expense of divorce. In addition, finding legal and financial professionals who can assist spouses in keeping the cost of divorce down can help both parties emerge in as stable a financial position as possible.

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

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