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Economy could influence Massachusetts divorce rate

A failing economy can have many consequences. As more people in Massachusetts lose their jobs, families have less money for activities, food and clothing. Public education is impacted as are government services when budgets are cut. However, one sociologist claims that a poor economy can also have a surprising impact on the divorce rate.

Reportedly, divorce rates dipped along with the economy over the course of the last few years. For example, in 2008, there were 20.9 divorces per 1,000 married couples, compared to 2009 when there were 19.5. By 2010, the rate had risen a bit to 19.8. The question for some is what caused those changes.

Some people believe that tougher economic times strengthened the relationship between a couple, making divorce less likely. However, the sociologist asserts that the lower rate is related to a more practical reason -- couples could not afford to divorce during the tougher economic conditions. He estimates that 150,000 more couples would have divorced between 2008-2011 if it hadn't been for the economy. He claims, though, that this does not mean that couples that would have ordinarily divorced during this time will remain together, but that they will simply divorce at a later date when the economy has rebounded.

While many people perceive divorce in negative terms, there are many positive benefits. Unhappy couples are allowed a fresh start. There also may be more affordable options for couples wishing to make a new start but who are struggling financially. For some in Massachusetts, a mediated divorce, for example, might be more cost-effective and less stressful for the parties and enable them to move forward to new lives.

Source: The Huffington Post, New Study Says Divorce Rates Will Increase As Economy Recovers, Taryn Hillin, Jan. 28, 2014

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