2009 may go down as the year with the least divorce filings in recent history.
Nationwide, the number of divorce filings is down substantially. When the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers polled its 1,600 members, nearly 40 percent said that filings were down by 40 percent. "There is a lot of fear, so people are staying put," says Gary Nickelson, president of the Academy. "People look at their assets and their liquidity, and they realize they don't have any."
During these hard times many couples are opting to postpone getting divorced for obvious economic reasons. In the past, the proceeds from the sale of the marital home was a solution to many post-divorce cash flow issues, including down payments for new homes, getting a new car and paying the lawyers and experts in a case.
With the decline in property values, many people are facing situations with negative equity or much less equity to divide, so many just stay put and wait for the market to turn.
During the Great Depression divorce rates dropped sharply, but domestic violence rates went up. Unfortunately, the statistics for 2009 reveal similar trends.
It’s hard to make marriage work during the best economic times, but when job losses, home losses and financial upheaval hit, marriages are severely impacted. Still, couples are staying together. They can't afford the attorney fees. Child support is impossible to pay. Having two homes is unreasonable in a time when they can barely afford one home together. So they decide to stay together. As one observer put it: “it’s like sleeping with the enemy”…