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Do financial troubles cause divorce or just postpone it?

Many Maryland couples fight over money. Some couples find a way to work things out, while others end up divorcing. In fact, the common belief was that couples got divorced when they experienced financial woes. However, a recent study has proven otherwise.

According to research from the University of Maryland, there were about 150,000 fewer divorces than expected from 2009 - 2011 during the recession. After 2011, though, when the recession lifted, divorces rose again. The reason why is unclear, but it may be because couples bonded over their financial difficulties. Or it could be because couples simply couldn't afford to divorce.

The recent trend is similar to the one experienced during the Great Depression. The divorce rate was lower during this time, but then it climbed back up once the economy started improving. So while money troubles did not lead to an immediate divorce, they changed the timing of it.

This seems logical, considering that divorce would be unlikely to positively affect cash flow. Having to pay for lawyers and court fees would only compound the situation. Many couples would probably rather ride out the situation in an unhappy marriage and wait for their economic situation to improve.

Going through a divorce at any time can be emotionally and financially challenging. It is true that divorce can be an expensive proposition, but it is likely better than the alternative - living in a lonely, loveless marriage. There are ways that couples can reduce costs - such as working together to develop an agreement regarding asset division and child custody if children are involved. Mediation is also cheaper than a nasty court battle. So for those who desperately seek a divorce, there are ways to make it happen on a budget.

Source: The Hub, "Recent U.S. divorce rate trend has 'faint echo' of Depression-era pattern" Brandon Ambrosino, Jan. 29, 2014

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