Divorce Rates Bounce Back Along with Economy

by Norris Law Group on March 28, 2014

couple divorceMany sociologists, including Dr. Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland, often cite money as a primary factor leading to divorce. But money may also play a role in keeping couples together in times of economic trouble.

The February 6, 2014 edition of the Deseret News included an article on a a recent study published in the academic journal Population Research and Policy Review, Cohen found that U.S. divorce rates dropped sharply during the 2009 to 2011 recession, and then bounced back in the subsequent economic recovery.

Cohen offered some theories as to why this may have occurred: “Divorcing presents costs in housing, legal fees, childcare and losses from diminished economies of scale. The recession may have increased the economic barriers that make these costs insurmountable for someone considering a divorce…Second, hard economic times within families may draw some couples closer together in resilience, so that even those considering divorce might set aside their conflicts and pull together, resulting in declining divorce rates.”

According to a similar study by the UK Office for National Statistics, the countries of England and Wales experienced just the opposite. UK divorce rates went down between 2003 and 2009, and then rose 4.9 percent in 2010. The report stated that “One theory suggests recession could contribute to a rise in partnership break-ups because of increased financial strain.”

Not all researchers are ready to inextricably link divorce rates to the economic downturn.

Pew Research Center senior writer D’Vera Cohn responded to Cohen’s study in a letter to The L.A. Times by saying, “There still is a mystery. It is enormously tempting to say that bad economic times made that happen, but this paper concludes that the jury is still out.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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