Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Debt, Do They Part? Recession Delays Divorces

Yesterday I came across this interesting article from discussing how more unhappy couples these days are deciding to stay together for financial reasons. According to the author, the recession has made it difficult for many couples that would like to file for divorce, but simply cannot afford to do so.

Breaking up is hard to do, but during a recession, it's even tougher.

Couples who want to split up often are handicapped: by the high cost of attorneys' fees, because they can't sell their homes or can't afford to set up two households.

So some of them are stuck living together - miserably.

"Some are agreeing to be roommates and stay at separate ends of the house," said attorney J.J. Dahl, who handles about 65 divorce cases each year. "And we have some who have gotten divorced and they're staying in the house together until the market improves and they can sell it."

This is new territory for Dahl, who says that none of her clients was doing this two or three years ago. But today, she finds that 25 percent of her clients are living together to make ends meet until they sell the house - and another quarter have given up and are losing their homes to foreclosure because they couldn't stand living together anymore.

Nationwide, the divorce rate appears to be the lowest since 1970, according to preliminary numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"There is a lot of fear, so people are staying put," said Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "People look at their assets and their liquidity, and they realize they don't have any."

Blog Archive