Thursday, June 18, 2009

Divorce Rate and the Economy

Andrew J. Cherlin, author of "The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today," wrote an excellent OpEd piece entitled "Married with Bankruptcy" in the May 29, 2009 New York Times. You can see the entire essay
at Cherlin says that "in times of economic crisis, Americans turn to their families for support. If the Great Depression is any guide, we may see a drop in our sky-high divorce rate. But this won’t necessarily represent an increase in happy marriages, nor is the trend likely to last. In the long run, the Depression weakened American families, and the current crisis will probably do the same." He goes on to say that "But history suggests that this response will be temporary. By 1940 the divorce rate was higher than before the Depression, as if a pent-up demand was finally being satisfied. The Depression destroyed the inner life of many married couples, but it was years before they could afford to file for divorce. Today’s economic slump could well generate a similar backlog of couples whose relationships have been irreparably ruined. So it is only when the economy is healthy again that we will begin to see just how many fractured families have been created."
Many divorce professional are struggling. If Cherlin is right, this is only temporary. We must prepare for the pent up demand and the flood of cases that will come.
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