Divorce Rates Up with Recovering Economy

causes of rising divorce rate

iStock_000018264765SmallIt’s quite interesting to see how the economy and divorce rates rise and fall together. A number of studies have linked a faltering economy with a lower divorce rate, and a booming economy with a higher divorce rate. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates dipped during the 18-month recession, but have risen steadily since June 2009.

So, what gives? One theory is that when a couple has a less secure income and the value of the marital home plummets, the idea of divorce is just too risky; in other words, they cannot afford to divorce! After all, it takes money to hire lawyers to litigate a divorce. Also, the economies of scale also kick in: post-divorce, two households rather than one must be maintained. Further, at divorce, existing shared assets are usually sold so profits can be divided. If a couple’s most valuable asset—usually their home—loses value, the idea of selling it becomes unfavorable.

Conversely, divorce rates also impact the economy. For example, when more couples divorce, more households are formed. In turn, demand for new homes, apartments, home furnishings, appliances, and related goods increases. In addition, more women enter the workforce post-divorce. According to U.S. Labor Department figures from 2011, approximately 67 percent of divorced women were part of the labor force, compared with only 60 percent of married women.

Who is getting divorced in America? People from a wide variety of backgrounds end marriages, but a number of studies show that Baby Boomers are the generation with the highest rate of divorce. Boomers were at the forefront of the divorce rate surge in the 1970s, and actually continue to get divorced at a higher rate than other generations. One explanation for a lower divorce rate among younger generations is that they tend to delay marriage until a later age. Moreover, younger generations are more likely to cohabitate before marriage. Sometimes, they simply part ways after living together for a few years (rather than marrying then divorcing).

Regardless of whether a couple divorces or simply breaks up and they form separate households, the impact on the children of these relationships can be overwhelming and stressful. When considering child custody and visitation arrangements for your family, Zonder Family Law offers a variety of options to best suit your needs, including mediation, collaborative law, and traditional litigation.


Lisa Zonder