According to a recent article by the Huffington Post, it is become increasingly more expensive to get divorced, especially given the nature of the current economy. Attorney’s fees only make up a percentage of the total cost of divorce. There is also the problem of the assets being split in half and the parties now having to live on half of the income that they once had. For some, the price is too steep and they would rather endure an unhappy marriage than an uncertain financial future.
Attorney Joy Joseph said this: “The bigger part is that the assets are split or devalued in the process. Usually that’s the house, in which they have very little equity. Plus there’s the risk of losing the partner’s health benefits. They’re afraid to live uninsured. So, they cling to an unhappy marriage because they can’t afford to leave.” There are also statistics that support Joseph’s claim. “A new paper in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy shows that as unemployment rises, the divorce rate goes down: For every 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate, the divorce rate goes down by 1 percent.”
This, however, does not mean that all these married people are getting along. Actually, the opposite is true. Even though divorce rates have gone down because of the struggling economy, people are not happy, meaning that discord and dysfunction in the family is on the rise. The NPR-Kaiser Family Foundation survey has reported that a significant percentage of people who have been out of work are experiencing difficulty in their close relationships.
Such problems mean difficult decisions for those who feel trapped in unhappy marriages. It is probably one of most difficult choices to make: stay and continue to be miserable or try to leave and then be left with nothing to take care of your family. The added strain of tight finances makes tensions escalate and rates of violence increase. Women and men continue to stay in relationships and marriages and are suffering for it every day. The Great Depression gave us a preview into the dire situation for marriages today. According to Stephanie Coontz, a historian and professor of women’s studies at Evergreen State College, “when states began to permit no-fault divorces, domestic violence dropped by 20 to 30 percent and the rate at which husbands were murdered by their wives was significantly lowered.”
Now, spouses are turning to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, since divorce is so expensive, but sometimes the women get the short end of the stick as a result. They usually cannot afford to hire their own attorney to represent their interests during the mediation. Experts are hopeful that when the economy turns, the divorce rate will begin to rise, which, ironically, is a beneficial because it allows the parties in strained marriages to go their separate ways without resorting to violence. If your find yourself needing assistance with a divorce, contact an experienced South Carolina family law attorney who will help to guide you through the difficult process.
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