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Have you been waiting for a better economy before divorcing?

Among the 99 percent, the economy may not feel like it's booming, but the worst of the Great Recession now appears to be over. At the very least, consumer spending is on its way back up -- last month the U.S. Department of Commerce reported the largest increase in consumer spending in the last eight years.

That may be good news for people who have been quietly suffering in unworkable marriages because they can't afford to divorce. For many people, divorce just wasn't an option during the recession; often because of a layoff or a catastrophic even like foreclosure. Some may have feared the cost of the divorce itself, but it's likely that many people couldn't afford to maintain two separate households.

Whatever the individual reasons, University of Maryland Sociologist Philip N. Cohen believes there's now a huge pent-up demand for divorce. He estimates that around 150,000 fewer divorces than expected were filed between 2009 and 2011.

As the economy improves, it's reasonable to assume that this pent up demand for marital dissolution will start working its way through the system, and some observers expect that to begin this year. Still, a better economy doesn't necessarily mean people are rolling in extra dough and, naturally, no one wants to spend more than they have to in order to have their divorce done properly.

You've seen some improvement in your finances. Is now the time to consider filing for that divorce?

It depends, even if you're considering only the economic factors. Even if the divorce process were free, you'll still have to be able to afford separate residences, which can be costly. If you have kids, you should consider how much your day care costs might go up. There could be a number of extra expenses, bills that go up, or other financial consequences of divorce, depending on your individual circumstances.

The divorce process isn't free, of course, but there are options that are likely to be less expensive than you might expect. For example, mediation and collaborative divorce often cost less than traditional divorce and can also provide a variety of other benefits. If you're interested in these options and how an attorney can help, please feel welcome to contact us.

Source: Communities Digital News, "As the economy improves, divorce rate will increase," Myra Fleischer, April 6, 2015

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