Divorce On The Rise With Economy
by Marcus Washington
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A number of studies have shown the ups and downs of America's economy also affects divorce rates.
The past several years, during the recession, the country hit a 40 year low in divorces. Now, as the economy gets better, there's an increase in marriages ending.
For some couples, the days of holding hands are gone, replaced with separating assets and eventually divorce.
Attorney David Garrett, with Cheatham, Palermo and Garrett, says when the economy tanked around 2009, many couples who wanted to divorce were forced to stay together.
"When a downed economy occurs, it's very hard because your client comes to you, their house value is down and they're underwater, they have lots of credit card debt, maybe a line of credit against the house," said Garrett.
Many studies have shown that married couples in cities across the country were holding off on a divorce because of collective debt and loss of employment.
"A lot of people we advise wait until you get a new job, your spouse gets a new job or the market improves so you can sell the house," he said.
According to the Nation's Center for Health Statistics, divorce was at a 40 year low here in America in 2009, but the mid-state didn't mirror those numbers.
"Middle Tennessee has been lucky compared to the rest of the country. We went into the economic downturn later than the other areas and we came out of it sooner," said Garrett.
Clerk offices here in the mid-state show there has not been a huge divorce rate increase, but they are reporting an increase in the way people are getting divorced.
"What they're seeing [are] people who are representing themselves, which means there is financial issues," said Garrett.
He adds divorces aren't easy and the more you have to separate, the greater need you have for an attorney who specializes in divorces.
"Some of the problems [are] they forget some of the debts and they don't address them," said Garrett. "And then down the road all these debts come up that they don't think about that they have to pay that their spouse isn't."
Garrett says when children are involved in a divorce, a parenting plan is extremely important. This should include specific times and dates each parent will be able to spend time with their children.