Divorce Rates Dropping
The latest round of divorce statistics show that young married couples may be bonding more in the current difficult economic climate. A study conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University in Virginia concluded that the recession may have the effect of strengthening marital commitments and delaying divorces at the same time. The shift is quite apparent when looking at places like New York where critics had predicted that the recently enacted no-fault divorce law in that state would lead to higher divorce rates because it makes divorces easier to obtain. Instead, it seems the economy has a bigger influence on the statistics than most people imagined.
The change is very evident when looking at the numbers for Brooklyn in Kings County, New York, an area that saw divorces on the rise nearly 30% since 2003. Now the numbers are falling and divorce rates in Brooklyn have fallen by more than 25% since they peaked for the decade in 2007. In 2007 there were 7,798 divorces filed in Kings County Courts. Last year that number had fallen to just 5,789 divorce filings. The difference has led some divorce watchers to conclude that the middle of the decade saw an increase in divorce filings when the economy was relatively healthy. In turn, it is believed the lower numbers last year were due to the opposite effect, and the number of divorce filings dropped due to the economic downturn. There is also speculation that the current unemployment rate of around 10% has had the effect of causing more couples to delay their divorce plans, Reasons given include the fact that divorce can be expensive and many couples realized they could not get by on a single income source.
The decline of divorce filings in Brooklyn’s mirror figures for the rest of New York State with 10,000 fewer divorces filed in 2009 than were filed in 2007. The 2009 Census showed that last years number of an 8.4% divorce rate for the entire state makes it the third lowest in the country. Divorce is expensive, legal fees are expensive and it is simply easier to stay married than it is to sell your house for less than you paid for it. The no-fault divorce laws have definitely made it easier to get a divorce, but they have not made it any less expensive, and in many cases it makes more sense to stay married in this economy.