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Are You More Likely to Divorce During Tough Times?

Myths and opinions circulate from a variety of sources — news articles, surveys and interviews — about the effect of tough economic times on marriages. Financial stress is a known factor that adversely affects relationships. Couples fight over their incomes, their spouse’s spending habits, and a lack of the lifestyle they always wanted. Troubled finances are definitely a source of conflict.

With the U.S. economic downturn brought about by the housing market fall and other factors, you might think that more people than ever have filed for divorce. However, how did the recent recession and surges of unemployment affect marriages?

Statistics tell the real story

Emerging facts show that unemployment and tough economic times may be the glue that keeps some marriages together.

In the 2011 research article Booms, Busts, and Divorce, the authors analyzed the relationship between unemployment rates and divorce rates in the United States during the period of 1976 to 2009. They found that when there was a one percent increase in unemployment, there was a one percent decrease in divorce rates.

From a broad view of society, divorces declined during a recession and periods of higher unemployment. However, when analyzing individual marital situations separate from an overall economy, a job layoff put stress on a marriage and created a higher probability of divorce. By comparison, job loss because of disability or a company closing down did not destabilize marriages.

Reconciling or resigned?

Perhaps couples that could not afford to divorce weathered the storm like sailors at sea, bonding and reconciling their differences under a common threat. Or perhaps for some, the perspective was more like what M. Alex Johnson wrote in a 2008 MSNBC article. He interviewed a New York psychotherapist who told him about a woman who said she could not stand her husband and every day wanted to leave him, but could not afford it.

If contemplating divorce, it is vital to understand your legal rights, protect your interests, and know what to expect.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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