The Great Recession and recovery: Effect on divorce rates

In Georgia and nationally, the so-called Great Recession of recent years that has been supplanted to a degree by an economic uptick operative since 2010 can be looked at a couple different ways when it comes to divorce.

From the perspective of the research group National Marriage Project, the hard economic climate was actually a salutary event for many married American couples. Essentially, it tested their mettle by serving up hard conditions that forced them to work together and forge stronger and lasting unions.

The project points to an undisputed downward trending in divorce numbers nationally late last decade — in 2008 and 2009, years marked by strong economic malaise — as evidence of that assertion. It says that the lowered divorce rate was “a silver lining” amidst tough times.

Family law researchers dispute that reasoning, saying that, instead, fewer couples were divorcing a handful of years ago because a harsh economy was simply making it tougher to part ways.

In other words, it was too expensive to split in many instances. With an economic recovery firmly — even if a bit unevenly — underway again, the divorce numbers have crept back up to customary levels.

“This is exactly what happened in the 1930s,” says a university sociologist noting the lowered level of divorce activity during that decade owing to the Great Depression.

The drop and subsequent rise again in divorce filings in recent years was noted in a study that will soon be published in the journal Population Research and Policy Review.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Divorces rise as economy recovers, study finds,” Emily Alpert Reyes, Jan. 27, 2014

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