The Jon and Kate Plus 8 stars apparently filed for divorce today, but attorneys say that the rising tide of family law actions has been growing for several months. Most place the blame squarely on the recession. According to the NLJ piece, attorneys are witnessing three main trends:
• A rising number of spouses are requesting that their child support and alimony obligations be modified, citing hard times.These factors lead to increased business in different ways. When people can't make their child support or alimony payments, they need to pay an attorney to go to court and request a modification. Second, when divorces get more contentious as assets dwindle, they often drag on longer and lead to more work for the lawyers involved. Finally, the couples who are looking to take advantage of lower asset valuations are choosing to divorce now, which adds to family lawyer caseloads.
• More feuding couples are struggling to reach divorce settlements because all the assets are worth less.
• Many couples are putting divorce off altogether because they can't afford it, while some wealthier ones are actually seizing on the economy and getting divorced, knowing that they'll have less to hand over to the other spouse.
All of the extra work can lead to family law attorneys feeling stretched a little thin. "'We are jammed, jammed,'" Lynne Gold-Bikin of Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby told the NLJ.
But at least most family law attorneys don't have a reality show camera crew following them around while they're working.