Attorney Lisa McDevitt Analyzes Rising U.S. Divorce Rate

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 8, 2014 – The divorce rate in the United States is rising, a trend credited in large part to the economic recovery of the past several years.

During the 18-month recession, the divorce rate plunged to a 40-year low. Since then, the divorce rate has recovered, rising each year. In 2012, the most recent year for which U.S. Census Bureau data is available, 2.4 millions Americans divorced.

“When times are tough, unhappy couples are more likely to stay together for financial reasons,” said Lisa McDevitt, a divorce attorney in Florida. “With the economy in recovery, more people feel that they can manage the financial hit of divorce.”

According to Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, about 150,000 couples postponed or avoided divorce between 2009 and 2011, a phenomenon he attributed to the recession in a January 2014 paper.

Divorce can be an economic challenge for couples. It often produces significant legal fees, especially in contentious cases. After a divorce, individuals must find new housing, as well as appliances, furnishings and other essentials. Marital assets are typically divided between the spouses.

“In many cases, women who previously worked as homemakers must enter the labor force after a divorce, which is more difficult in a recessed labor market,” McDevitt continued. “Even in healthy economic times, women often see their income go down after a divorce, especially if they are still providing the bulk of childcare, a role which can limit their job opportunities.”

Consistent with the increased demand for housing produced by divorce, the rise in divorces is correlated with an increase in the formation of new households. Around 5.3 million households have been formed in the four years since the recession, while just under 400,000 new households were formed in 2009.

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