The Recession and High-Asset Divorce: Research Points to Connection

The popular perception may be that upper-income people have no money worries, even if they get divorced.

But that perception is often wrong. Psychologists and social scientists are starting to study how post-Great Recession economic trauma affects rich as well as other income groups. In fact, rich people whose fortunes were closely tied to the real estate market may be more affected by the downtown than others.

It’s true that some commentators believe that the difficult economy can sometimes keep couples from getting a divorce. After all, it costs so much more to set up two different households than it used to. Many couples may have waited to ride out the recession before splitting up.

New research suggests, however, that divorce rates are starting to climb again. Through an analysis of census data, University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen found that, nationally, the number of divorces went up 30,000 from 2009 to 2010.

Interestingly, one of the groups most at risk for divorce was college-educated people in states with high rates of real estate foreclosure. In other words, the bursting of the housing bubble can lead many marriages to burst as well. The promises of marital bliss can slip away under the pressure to keep making payments on an underwater mortgage.

These trends definitely affect the Atlanta area. The data show that Georgia is one of the top ten states for foreclosures. If you are or were part of a well-off couple who bought more house than you can really afford now, you are not alone.

Source: “Do the Rich Get More Recession Divorces?” NYMag, Lisa Miller, 8-16-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Atlanta high-asset divorce page.

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