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Can You Afford a Divorce During a Recession?

November 3, 2009

divorce1As luck would (or would not) have it,  Happily Ever Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey was published not long after the world economy took a nosedive.  As a result, a question that came up again and again when I was interviewed by the press about the book was the following:

Will anyone be able to afford to get divorced now that we’re in a recession?

My answer was usually the same.  There are always severe financial ramifications to getting a divorce.  It’s never easy to separate one household into two, no matter how much money you have. (Remember Donald and Ivana Trump, who squabbled over who got Mar-A-Lago?)

So while I did admit that the crash in the residential real estate market might result in a bit more sofa-sleeping, I did think that marriage and divorce would go on as before. (At the same time, I was glad that my book came out in paperback and was priced at only $15.)

Turns out I was wrong, though, according to the people over at Single Parent Gossip.  Read their post titled “Recession Puts a Damper on Divorce Filings” :

We have heard before that the recession has hit virtually every job sector (with a few exceptions, of course, like the datingindustry), so it should be no surprise that divorce lawyers are suffering as well. Respondents to a survey sent out by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) indicated that the number of divorce filings has dropped significantly since the fourth quarter of 2008.

According to the AAML, 57% of the answering attorneys said that there are fewer divorces now. Only 14% of attorneys said that the number has increased. However, 39% of the nation‘s top divorce attorneys cited an increase in modifications being made to child support payments. 42% of lawyers reported a rise in the number of changes made to alimony payments.

“The current economic climate is proving to be far more unforgiving than estranged couples seeking a divorce,” said Gary Nickelson, president of the AAML. “Forced to weigh damaged marriages against tight budgets and uncertain financial outlooks, many spouses seem more willing to try and wait out the recessionary storm.”

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