Family Law Blog

Post-Recession Divorces May Improve the Economy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The nation seems to have gotten through the worst of the Great Recession but the specter of unemployment, decreased property values and stagnant wages still haunts the country. The recovery will probably be ongoing for some time. During the height of the economic challenges, many sectors of American culture were impacted and may never be the same again: driving habits, vacation choices, eating in restaurants, purchasing new cars, moving back home with mom and dad and delaying marriage. The financial downturn seems to have impacted divorce rates as well.

For many people, a divorce may have been the appropriate move emotionally but the recession made going through the process prohibitive. From 2007-2010, as property values dropped, jobs were lost, tuition rose, and businesses shuttered, many Americans may not have been able to seek a life after divorce. In other words, they may have been stuck. This may be a reason why divorce rates actually declined slightly during the recession (NPR). This may soon change according to an article published on Slate.

Not only may divorce rates increase post-recession but this may be good for the economy says Slate writer Matthew Yglesias. He argues that divorce may be a sign of a stronger economy and that the new houses that are furnished and bought or rented will provide "An income boost" that "could create a wave of household formation that drives nationwide incomes even higher." Yglesia's article was published in January of 2012 and recent divorce data is still be gathered. Whether or not his prediction will come true remains to be seen. But, while it may seem cynical to root for marriages to falter, if a couple has been holding off on divorce for fear of economic uncertainty in their own household and in the nation at large, perhaps now is the time to take the leap.