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Statistics and Trends in Divorce

Posted by Stephen G. Gordon in Trends in Divorce

THE GOOD NEWS!! The number of divorces is increasing! Well, that’s the good news to those economists who see the increase in the number of divorces as evidence of an improving economy. Since the 2008 economic crises and the Great Recession many couples simply could not afford to divorce. During the recession, in 2009, the U.S. divorce rate hit a 40-year low. Locally, 2009 marked a low in Westchester and Dutchess counties and a near low in Putnam County. It was not the cost of the divorce process itself that forced unhappy marrieds to stay together; it was the hard reality that post-divorce life was just too expensive to manage. It was often considered impossible to stretch limited family income to cover the costs of two separate households. So the number of divorces decreased as the economy tanked. But for the past three years, the divorce rate locally, statewide and nationally is on the rise so it now appears that the economy has improved.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS!! The number of divorces is increasing! Ours is still a society that values marriage and family. From that perspective, any increase in the number of divorces would be viewed as a reflection of a deteriorating society heading towards greater instability. What can be considered a positive economically it is often thought to be a negative socially.

THE STATISTICS (Click Here)  Even as population in the counties of Westchester, Dutchess and Putnam has seen a general, modest increase since 2001, the number of divorces has generally declined in all three counties over the last 13 years. These statistics beg the question: Why? The statistics indicate that economic reality trumps emotional need.

Economic instability increases pressures within a marriage. During tough economic times those pressures increase the emotional need to divorce and would thus tend to increase the number of divorces. So if the emotional need for divorce increases while the divorce rate drops, it must be attributed to the economics. However, Collaborative Divorce makes it possible to overcome the cold, cruel fiscal realities that sometimes preclude couples from divorcing. It still may be possible to divorce even in the throes of a Great Recession…if couples opt to utilize Collaborative Divorce.

All too often traditional, litigated divorce exacerbates acrimony, bitterness, turmoil, unresolved conflict and the collapse of a functioning family that can remain supportive of the children. However, the Collaborative Divorce process is designed specifically to minimize and even eliminate those ugly, destructive ramifications. Collaborative Divorce provides a viable means to restructure a family in a positive and productive manner that best meets the competing interests of the parties and the essential needs of the children. When couples utilize the Collaborative Divorce process, they focus their energy and effort into problem solving – specifically finding solutions to the problem of stretching thin revenues and resources. When spouses concern themselves not only with their own personal “best interests” but also the best interests of the children and even the other spouse, solutions that remain unexplored and hidden in the adversarial battle of traditional litigated divorce can be devised and implemented.

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