The economic recession of recent years has had repercussions in virtually every aspect of Michiganders’ lives – homes have gone into foreclosure, jobs have been lost and communities changed forever. Dreams have been put on hold, from college to family vacations and even retirement. And perhaps surprisingly, many married couples have also been putting off one other important move: the decision to get a divorce.
The Michigan Department of Community Health recorded approximately 2,300 fewer divorces in the dire economy of 2009 compared to 2006, before the recession hit. With housing and investment values plummeting, and in many cases lost income, couples who wanted to divorce were more likely to keep living together rather than make the split amidst such economic uncertainty. Concerns about legal fees associated with divorce and lengthy, complicated property division negotiations may also have played a role.
Today, however, as the housing market shows some signs of life (for example, home prices in the Detroit metro area have been up for 13 months in a row) and employers are beginning to hire again, more couples are feeling confident enough in their economic prospects to take the step of filing for divorce. In fact, now may be an opportune time to do so, before the values of property, investments, businesses and other assets climb much higher and property division becomes a more challenging and potentially contentious factor. Negotiation and mediation can also help to minimize the amount of court time and the fees involved in a divorce.
Of course, no couple will view the end of a marriage in strictly economic terms. Emotions run high and stress is a given. But couples who have been putting off the difficult decision to divorce solely because of financial concerns may want to consider whether now is the right time for them to move on to a better future.
Source: Crain’s Detroit Business, “Recovery reaches Splitsville,” Dustin Walsh, Oct. 14, 2012