Researchers examine the effect of the recent economic downturn on marriages in the U.S.

Looking back at what economic experts have dubbed “The Great Recession,” the majority of news coverage was devoted to foreclosures, employment and the stock market. While all of these topics were vitally important and worthy of significant discussion, the social impact of “The Great Recession” was sometimes overlooked. For example, what effect did our nation’s recent economic woes have on the divorce rate?

Fortunately, researchers at the University of Virginia have recently provided an answer to that question courtesy of a comprehensive survey of 1,197 married couples – ranging in age from 18-45 – conducted over the last two months.

The study, “Survey of Marital Generosity,” arrived at several intriguing conclusions regarding the impact of the economic downturn on marriage/divorce.

The first of these conclusions was that 29 percent of the married couples surveyed indicated that the Great Recession did create some degree of financial stress upon their marriage.

While this is not altogether surprising – financial problems are routinely cited as a cause of marital difficulties – consider that 33 percent of married couples stated that this financial stress actually caused them to expend more time and energy into preserving their marriages.

In addition, over half of the couples indicated that they were currently in “happy marriages” and that the economic downturn resulted in them redoubling their marital commitment.

“This new survey tells us that the Great Recession has had a double-edged impact on American marriages,” said Professor Bradford Wilcox, author of the study. “For some, the financial stresses associated with the Great Recession have hurt their marriages. But for others, this recession has fostered a new commitment to marriage that appears to have improved the quality and stability of their marriages.”

One of the more unsurprising findings of the study was that 38 percent of couples reported delaying their pursuit of a divorce due to cost concerns (i.e., legal fees and the cost of maintaining two homes).

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or life after divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Study shows recession has weighed heavily on American marriages (The Washington Post)