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What factors influence timing of divorce filings?

There’s a good chance that the recent economic recession impacted every California family in some way. Between falling real estate values and rising unemployment, there’s good reason why finding or maintaining financial security was of the utmost importance for many people during this time. Now that the economy has begun to turn around, people might be adjusting their behavior.

One not-so-obvious consequence of the economic downturn was a decrease in the divorce rate. According to a study conducted by researchers with the University of Maryland, a large number of divorces were put on hold between 2009 and 2011.

As individuals became uncertain about their finances, filing for divorce may not have seemed like the best option. Slumping returns on real estate, depreciating assets and losing regular income are all financial factors that could make a person feel as though property division wouldn’t benefit either spouse as much as it could. During the recession, some or all these things were a reality for many individuals and families.

Now that the economy is rebounding, however, observers also note that people might feel more certain about filing for divorce and their financial futures. It may seem like now is a better time to act, because creating a new household feels like a less risky prospect.

Whatever the case, couples can benefit from understanding the family law options available to them at any point in the economic cycle. Realistically, married couples and their children might not be best served by delaying divorce, since the stress caused by a strained marriage can impact the whole family. Once individuals are aware of their options, they can move forward with what is best, which might include marital dissolution.

Source: Bloomberg, “Worsening U.S. Divorce Rate Points to Improving Economy,” Steve Matthews, Feb. 18, 2014