Latest “New Normal” Sighting: Divorce Rebound

A Financial Times article discusses an unlikely indicator of recovery: divorce rates have risen. One divorce attorney commented, “There is huge pent up demand.” Another lawyer, who was apparently a decent representative, said her business had increased 25% compared to the same period last year.

But the post crisis economy has led to some changes in tactics:

Divorce has not become any less acrimonious but the fights have changed, lawyers said.

“People no longer argue about who’s keeping the house, but about who’s stuck with it,” Mr Willick said.

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  1. IF

    Can’t they just sign the house over to their unsuspecting children? With some luck they might be out of bankruptcy before they apply for their first credit card. After all, the parents probably just ‘did it for the kids’ when they bought into an overpriced school district.

    1. Cullpepper

      They already did sign that debt over- student loan debt cannot be discharged via bankruptacy whereas mortgage debt can.

      There’s a whole generation of debt-slaves who will never own a house, but will be forced to support their parents’ entitlement programs.

      Thanks, Boomers!

    1. Dirk77

      Is this really possible? I mean could a couple split things such that one gets all the assets and the other the debts? They then divorce. The one with the liabilities declares bankruptcy. They then remarry when things are clear.

          1. Jade Jaundice

            Is this possibility the rational behind governments forbidding child support to families with live-in-fathers?


            here you see bankruptcy fillings peaking in fourth quarter of 005.

            Foreclosure NOD, Notices Of Default peaked in 009.

            Does this mean that shifting assets off the books to one spouse with simultaneous shifting of debts off the books to the spouse filing for bankruptcy was probably a rare occurrence? Who knows. One thing for sure, “we had a real trend going there, but it will take someone less retarded than me to figure it all.”

      1. The Mud

        Yeah – it’s called the wife gets the kids and assets and the husband gets the debts. Most divorces I know follow this path. As judge Noland in Georgia once said, “I ain’t never seen a calf following a bull. They always follow the cow. So I always give custody to the mammas.”

        My money says in the majority of cases, hubby’s on the hook.

  2. jake chase

    Her business increased 25%? What, from 3 to 4 (no, that would be 33%). Must be from 5 to 6. I have always wondered about the type of person who writes for the FT. Would over educated idiot be unduly harsh?

  3. Chromex

    Is this an argument for recovery? Isn’t it also likely that there are couples whose relationship has frayed beyond repair because of the prolonged and enduring economic stress of the past several years.thereby skewing the stats differently?

  4. Firean

    Rightly stated; is this an argument for the recovery ? Maybe so for the legal profession, and hopefully continues for same said profession in litigation cases against the investment banks and, as well, fraudulent activities of the mortgage and mortgage foreclosure business.
    Because one party in the divorce gains the house doesn’t exclude the other party from having to pay the mortgage as part of the alimony.I have met a few gentlemen who could not afford to rehouse themselves on account of the cost of paying for the house which their ex-wife retained. Laws may not be the same in USA.

  5. Birch

    This is another toung-in-cheek post, isn’t it? To suggest that heartbreak and discord are sings of economic good times is, well, a stretch. I imagine it has more to do with unravelling social fabric; the glorification of the individual at the expense of family and community. Divide and conquor on the household level.

    I like the toung-in-cheekiness. Usually good for a giggle.

  6. Bam_Man

    Divorce is “good for the economy”.
    It creates/saves many high paying jobs.
    Help support our economic recovery. Get a divorce today.

  7. Mic Whore

    Part of the oligarch’s plan is to have those in the slums fighting amongst themselves: xenophobia, unemployment, alcoholism, police brutality, jail, divorce and perhaps country music – it accelerates the theft of their land, and rewards the attorneys (some of whom have no problem celebrating profit taking during times of malaise) The masses should be bum rushing the global banksters at the local level, not seeking comfort by being a Pawn. Again with the lawyers and judges – there would be no fraudclosures without their capitulation to “doing what they gotta do”, and other complete surrenders.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Part of the oligarch’s plan is to have those in the slums fighting amongst themselves: xenophobia, unemployment, alcoholism, police brutality, jail, divorce and perhaps country music …’

      Oh, my. Back in my misspent youth, satanic rock music was said to be eroding society’s foundations. Now it’s good ole country music?

      Wait a second … your handle … ‘Mic whore.’ You wouldn’t happen to be a country singer, would ya?

      Down come a shipment of used car salesmen smilin’ like rattlesnakes
      Every politician in the whole blame country claimin’ there was some mistake
      Lawyers and thieves and state police, and gentlemen of the press
      Cons and flunkies, slackers, junkies, agents of the IRS

      Welcome to Texas underground
      We got a barbeque all year round
      Plenty of country singers around
      Bound to have ourselves a ball …

      — Dave Carter, Texas Underground

  8. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    From the NYT today about the bleak prospects for new residential construction:

    “Builders and analysts say a long-term shift in behavior seems to be under way. Instead of wanting the biggest and the newest, even if it requires a long commute, buyers now demand something smaller, cheaper and, thanks to $4-a-gallon gas, as close to their jobs as possible. That often means buying a home out of foreclosure from a bank.”

    To the extent that housing and suburbanization coupled with cheap oil were the engine of the postwar boom, the “new normal”, if that’s what we want to call it, would suggest that the American Dream is now divorced from most Americans’ much reduced expectations. And the glut of housing absent cheap oil would suggest that this divorce is likely to be the “new normal” far into the future notwithstanding the stimulus/incentive of a shiny new car – hybrid/electric? – sitting in the driveway.

    Of course, this begs the question where will the “economic growth” that will usher in something resembling the postwar boom come from? What will resurrect this American Dream?

    Or will it morph into the “less is more” virtuous lifestyle of enforced thrift and frugality – “traditional values” – and play right into the hands of the AUSTERIANS? Or should I ask how and in what ways will the latter coopt this value system in order to justify austerity because the American Dream has run out of gas?

  9. John

    My brother has bveen a Family Law specialist for 35 years. He knows that in good time people divorce. In bad times, they stay together and live in seperate parts of the house.

    I am in the Moving business, specializing in Consumer paid moves (not Corporate) and for the first time since 2007 ads are appearing for moving salespersons in Southern California. Since 2007, the moving business revenue (in all parts of the business) is off by 40%!

    Couples divorcing is good for my brother and better for me, since I get two moves and he only gets one divorce.

  10. PovertyLawyer

    Odd that just as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Dodgers essentially got put into receivership following a divorce that anybody would try to make this case.

    Divorce – whatever else can be said about it – is almost always a financial disaster, and often, not just for the parties. While the spontaneous generation of a new “household” generates new economic demands, it is inherently inefficient and wasteful. That said, in my case, it was worth every cent.

  11. FatCat

    Fat Cat here, so listen up my little mice, ’cause I ain’t gonna repeat it twice. Besides keeping all of you unemployed and ignorant, my oligarchic plan also demands to divide all of you down to the small unit possible. I hate marriages, families, and communities. Divide and conquer. I want to see you hungry, naked, desperate, and ALONE before I tear you up. A kiddy likes to play with his mice before devouring them.

    Fat Cat

  12. Rex

    Who gets stuck with the house indeed. Who is going to get the house that isn’t worth what it owed on it. You can’t give away properties like this now. Its same number one cause of divorce with a different twist. Money!!!!

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