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Improving Economy is Linked to a Rise in Divorces


Earlier this year, unemployment rates in South Carolina dropped to their lowest rates since October of 2008, amid numerous signs that the state is emerging from recession.

But the steady improvement in the state's economy may mean more couples are heading to the divorce courts, a study from California suggests.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on how the economic resurgence means divorce is becoming more affordable. Unhappy couples are now contemplating something the dire economy of a few years ago had meant was unthinkable.

Quoting Debra Schoenberg, a San Francisco divorce attorney, the article stated that it's not about money leading to unhappiness; rather the recession caused many couples to stay together because their homes were in negative equity or one or both parties were out of work.

"Prior to the recession, a couple's home was one of their largest assets to divide," said Schoenberg, author of the newly released book, "Divorce in California: The Legal Process, Your Rights and What to Expect."

The book explains why divorce was impractical for many couples in the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s. When the recession hit and house prices fell, a couple was left with fewer assets. Getting divorced meant an even greater financial loss.

As in the case of California, South Carolina's housing market has shown signs of rebounding over the last few months.

A recent TV report stated how five years after the start of the recession, South Carolina's housing market is showing "strong signs of recovery". According to the South Carolina Realtors Association, home sales in August 2013 were up 21 percent as compared to the same time in 2012.

According to Schoenberg, couples now have more wealth as they consider divorce as an option, which lessens the negative financial impact. They may even be able to make a profit from a home that was worthless a few years ago. Some of the most commonly asked questions about divorce concern the family home.

The link between a poor economy and a low divorce rate is not unique to the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported. In Britain divorce rates fell to levels not seen in decades in 2008 when the country was in the grip of a financial crisis, according to Marquette University professor Abdur Chowdhury.

"Rising inflation and falling housing prices put pressure on marriages and might thus contribute to higher divorce rates," Chowdhury said in the LA Times article. "The same factors also make splitting up more complicated. Falling property prices mean that selling the family home may not provide sufficient funds for two separate homes, especially now that lenders have become much more selective."

There is, however, some contradictory evidence on this issue. A 2008 study suggested an economic downturn can lead to higher divorce rates among top earners.

The Economist noted how the recession of the early 1990s was linked to a spike in divorces among London's most affluent. Additionally, a third of all inquiries to divorce lawyers was said to be related to the credit crunch.

"One explanation is that the defecting spouses of high earners are getting out before the crunch reduces the potential for lucrative settlements," the Economist reported.

However, the recession appears to have had an opposite effect on average earners.

Even if you believe divorce won't hit you as hard as a few years ago, there are still plenty of reasons to hire an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney. Contact the Masella Law Firm at 803.748.9990.

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