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Is the improving economy causing more marriages to end?

The economy is making slow improvements in Tennessee and elsewhere, which could also be causing the divorce rate to increase, researchers say.

Although they haven’t been able to establish an exact cause and effect relationship between the divorce rate and the economy, researchers suspect that the divorce rate dips along with the economy because people simply can’t afford to divorce when times are tough.

After years on the rise, the national divorce rate finally started to fall during the recent economic recession. But a study by a University of Maryland sociologist shows that it began creeping back up again in 2010 and 2011 as the economy made slow improvements.

The data could disprove suggestions from pro-marriage advocates that the tough economic times were bringing couples closer together. Instead, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist said what likely happened was that people temporarily put off divorce because they couldn’t afford it.

“This is exactly what happened in the 1930s,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “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."

He suggested that once the economy started making improvements and people began feeling more financially secure they moved forward with divorce plans.

After deciding that a marriage is no longer working, the next step is to meet with an experienced family law attorney who can go over your options and the potential financial implications of divorce.

When going through divorce, it’s important to find an attorney who can stand up for your interests but also help you best allocate your emotional and economic resources during the process.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Divorces rise as economy recovers, study finds,” Emily Alpert Reyes, Jan. 27, 2014