New study says more couples are divorcing as the economy improves

Sociologist Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland recently wrote a paper detailing the relationship between the economy and the divorce rate. Specifically, Cohen studied the divorce rates during the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath. Slated for publication in a 2014 issue of the Population Research and Policy Review, the paper can give insight into some of the broader reasons why divorce may seem to be making more sense to you as the economy improves.

Tens of thousands of divorces likely delayed due to economy

According to the study, the U.S. divorce rate was at 20.9 divorces for every 1000 married women in 2008. As the economic doldrums worsened, the rate dropped further to 19.5 divorces for every 1000 married women in 2009.

But, as the Great Recession ended and the economy slowly began to pick up steam, so did the divorce rate. In 2010 the divorce rate rose to 19.8 divorces for every 1000 married women, and that rate held steady into 2011.

One possible explanation is that economic insecurities and lack of liquid assets kept people from pursing a divorce in the midst of the Great Recession, despite being unhappily married.

"This is exactly what happened in the 1930s," Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, told the L.A. Times when asked to comment on the new study. "The divorce rate dropped during the Great Depression not because people were happier with their marriages, but because they couldn't afford to get divorced."

By Cohen's estimates in the new study, from 2008 to 2011, 150,000 divorces that would have happened under normal economic conditions did not happen because of the weak economy.

Talk to a family law attorney if you are among those considering divorce

As the economy slowly but surely continues to improve, many of the thousands of couples who stuck together for financial reasons during the recession will likely choose to pursue the divorce they can now more easily afford. The divorce rate in 2014 will likely be the highest seen in several years.

If you are one of thousands who wanted to get divorced but did not know if you could afford it, now is the time to explore your legal options. The economic outlook is getting better, and your happiness has waited long enough.

An experienced family law attorney can help give you an idea of what a divorce will cost and of your prospects in the property division aspect of divorce. Your lawyer will work to ensure you receive the share of marital assets that you deserve. If you're unhappy with your marriage, contact a divorce lawyer today.