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Adoptions, Divorces, and Marriages: All Slowed by Recession

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on June 10, 2009 3:40 PM

Although some have suggested that the ongoing recession may result in a rise in the divorce rate, results from a FindLaw survey may indicate that the recession is actually delaying many Americans' major life events such as marriage, having children, and yes, even divorce. FindLaw's survey indicated that due to their concerns over the economy:

  • One in ten Americans are postponing marriage
  • One in ten Americans are delaying having children
  • Six percent of Americans considering adopting children are holding off
  • Four percent of Americans are delaying divorce

The survey also suggested that economy's effect is felt in particular by younger people as almost "40 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 are delaying marriage, divorce or having children." Perhaps hand-in-hand with that statistic, more than a third of people with yearly incomes below $35,000 say they are delaying marriage, divorce or having children because of the economy (compared to only 7% of those making $75,000/year or more).

It probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the economy is having such an impact on those wanting to get married, particularly younger individuals, considering the expenses that often accompany weddings. According to a CNN Money article earlier this year, the average amount spent on a wedding in 2008 was nearly $22,000, and even that number was down about $6,000 from the year before. Delaying marriage may simply be a natural offshoot of general budget belt-tightening, unemployment, and similar factors.

As for a divorce, would people really prefer to stick together in a miserable marriage rather than split and pay the costs? Well, maybe if it means the difference between having two people together under one roof, or having two individuals separate under none? A Reuters article discusses the drop in the divorce rate for British couples, and indicates the possibility that falling property values make it tougher for couples to sell a jointly owned home (without taking a hit), and tightened credit could also make it tougher for two separate individuals to purchase their own properties.

As far as the legal costs for a divorce, they can probably run the gamut depending on the circumstances of a divorcing couple. However, as suggested earlier this year, a "do it yourself" divorce is one possibility that could cut down costs. It might not be for everyone though, and key considerations include whether it would be easy to split up a couple's assets and liabilities, whether there are any kids in the marriage, and whether spousal support would be disputed.

Below are some helpful resources on marriage, adoption, and divorce.

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