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Sunday, May 1st 2011

Estranged Spouses Increasingly Waiting Out Downturn to Divorce

The Washington Post points out that with a depressing economy, housing market, and disappearing jobs, "divorce has become a luxury" outside the reach of many couples.  Simply put, "there is often not enough money to pay for separate households or to hire lawyers, fight over children, and go to court."

Historically, divorcing spouses could rely on the equity in their homes and investment/retirement accounts to help them reestablish their new post-divorce lives.  However, with equity evaporating into the ether of the depressed real estate values and financial accounts losing value at a staggering rate, many estranged spouses have found it necessary to remain in the same home to either ride out the economic storm or save money during the divorce proceeds through the court system.  It is now common that the only thing to divide is a mountain of debt, which leaves little to no assets to help start a new life.

Unfortunately, a few jurisdictions in the U.S.--luckily not Texas--require that spouses live separately for several months to a year before being entitled to a divorce; thus, furthering the tensions of a failed marriage and the desire to divorce.  John Hopkins University sociologist claims that the current recession bears similarities to the Great Depression.  As in the 1930s when divorce rates fell, according to the National Marriage Project, 2008 divorce numbers totaled 838,000 cases, a decline from the previous years.

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