Divorce rates have typically stayed pretty consistent over the last few decades. But as with any major life change, outside factors can cause divorce statistics to vary and can affect the outcome of property division. In a surprising new study, analysts have found the recession of the last few years and the current recovery has altered divorce statistics in an unexpected way. Maryland couples who are in the middle of divorce or who have taken their economic situation into account when deciding to divorce may be interested in the study.

New statistics point to a trend of divorce rates rising with the recovery of the economy, compared to when the recession was in full swing. During two years of marked economic recession, there were 150,000 fewer divorce filings than what would have been statistically expected. The divorce rate then began to go back up as the end of the recession neared, and people felt more secure about their financial future.

While deep economic hardship, unemployment and home foreclosure typically tend to strain marriages and are all seen as factors when a marriage dissolves, the reality turned out to be different for reasons still unknown. However, there are some theories. One theory is that people simply could not afford to split and go out on their own, even though divorce may have been wanted by both sides. Other authorities in divorce trends state that there are couples who continue to share a home after divorce due to finances. They may not have felt they were prepared to divide all of their property and still be able to maintain a household of their own.

A couple’s finances and outlook on property division play a role in the timing and ability to divorce. However, once the decision is made to split, it could benefit a couple to find out what their financial reality is, how a divorce will affect those finances and what property they may have to split between them. Regardless of the national or local economic outlook in Maryland, being well-informed about the costs of divorce and laws of property division is the first step when deciding the best time to pursue divorce.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Divorces rise as economy recovers, study finds, Emily Alpert, Jan. 27, 2014