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Troubled Economy Has Couples Going Through Divorce More Cautious Than Ever

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Total Divorce has provided features on the economic aspects of divorce before, but in this time of economic trouble for money, divorce itself may not even be an option. A recent article in the New Jersey Star-Ledger features many in the professional marriage and divorce industry lamenting how the weak economy has been causing many couples to wait to file divorce and some to even reconsider divorce.

Divorce mediators working in New Jersey have seen a drop in business recently, and anecdotal evidence suggests that couples in counseling are having a more difficult time reaching the decision to divorce, even if they do eventually make that decision. Some couples are treating the sometimes costly process of divorce as they would a big-ticket item that must be saved for, like a new car or a lengthy vacation.

Partially, this greater struggle over the decision of divorce has been a result of how the economy has impacted personal finance, and therefore marriage as well. Many questions arise when considering the consequences of divorce: Who will own the house? Who will own the investments and savings? Who will pay child support? All of these issues may be separately or together linked to woes in the economy.

But are such difficult and contentious issues enough to keep a struggling couple together in marriage? Financial disputes are often one of the leading causes of marital disputes, and very often lead to contested divorces, a fact that seems to contradict this trend.

Most mediators profiled in the article agree that if a couple is heading for a split, economic woes won't be able to stop them from their inevitable path towards divorce. However, many couples have been finding careful ways of dealing with their finances that reflect their growing concern over the economy. Here are some of the issues that have come to light:

  • Housing: with foreclosures at record highs and housing prices dropping to the point that many people can't afford making payments on their adjustable-rate mortgages, the question of what will happen to the house and the mortgage is front and center in any divorce proceedings. Some couples are choosing to wait until the house sells, which in the current real estate market, can take months upon months. Others are choosing to compromise on the house, allowing one party to stay in the house or renting the house.
  • Jobs: jobs have been lost at an astonishing pace over the first half of 2008, with the current unemployment rate at 5.5 percent. If one partner in a marriage has not been in working, the prospect of finding a new job in the face of such news can be intimidating. For families with kids, special hours and other amenities may be needed that prevents one spouse from taking a job. Health insurance is a major concern for many individuals as well.
  • Child support: with the hit taken by individuals in the country's economic woes, and prices for gas and food skyrocketing, monetary obligations such as child support become even more crucial. As the articles states, "the prospect of job losses has led some couples to fashion escrow-like provisions to ensure there will be child support in the future despite layoffs or job demotions."

As you can see, any slump in the economy in the United States has far-reaching consequences, and divorce is just one among many areas of personal life that take a hit during these times. But creative and careful planning has allowed many of the people mentioned in the article to get on with their lives-and it could help you as well!


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