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Is the divorce rate about to shoot up in Alabama?

Birmingham area residents may have heard that the divorce rate decreased during the recession. Many people attributed this to marriages growing stronger during tough times. A new study challenges that thinking.

A university sociologist has found that between the years of 2009 and 2011, about 150,000 couples stayed married simply because they could not afford to divorce. Dividing property and potentially facing alimony and child support orders was just too much for many to bear when the economy was faring so poorly, according to this research.

These findings do seem to mirror the divorce trends that took place during the Great Depression. The divorce rate dropped by about 25 percent from 1929 to 1933, but it then rose throughout the 1930s and the 1940s. This led social scientists to infer that a struggling economy does not prevent divorces; it only keeps them at bay for awhile.

So, if this sociologist’s theory about the recent recession is correct, we can perhaps expect the divorce rate to climb as the economy continues to regain its footing.

This study is also a reminder that divorce does have a major financial impact on individuals. Halving a household’s assets, properties and debt can be particularly difficult when money is tighter than usual. Those who are going through a divorce need to ensure that they protect their financial needs and rights throughout the process. It is important for individuals to work with their family law attorneys to help ensure they reach a fair and reasonable divorce settlement.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, “Recent U.S. divorce rate trend has ‘faint echo’ of Depression-era pattern,” Brandon Ambrosio, Jan. 29, 2014