How Will an Economic Recession Affect Divorce Rates in Illinois?

DuPage County divorce attorney financial hardshipGovernor Pritzker has extended the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order through the end of May, and it could potentially last even longer. While some states are phasing into opening more parts of their economies, Illinois remains focused on the safety of its residents, only allowing essential workers to work outside of their homes. As the unemployment claims keep rolling in, it might be easy to feel like the country, or at least the state, is in the midst of an economic recession or depression. How might this new economic reality in Illinois affect divorce rates?

The Many Potential Effects of a Recession on Divorce Rates

Will an economic recession decrease or increase divorce rates? While a strong case could be made for either outcome, the truth is that this is a nuanced issue. In studying divorce rates before, during, and after the last major recession over the last 10 to 15 years, researchers have found that there is no clear, substantial, and overwhelming data that supports either outcome. In many cases, the likelihood of divorce is dependent upon each family’s living situation. For example, divorce rates might increase as a result of a recession because:

  • Foreclosures, bankruptcies, and other financial stressors have taken a tremendous toll on the marriage.

  • Unemployment, furloughs, or other job hardships have changed the dynamic of a family and relationship such that the marriage is less emotionally stable.

  • Spouses are uncertain of their economic futures—both together and in general.

  • A spouse may attempt to respond to the stress resulting from the recession with excessive engagement in bad habits, such as drinking or drug use, and this could convince the other spouse to move on.

  • A spouse might take out their stress about the recession on the other partner or other family members through verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, making divorce the only option for the other spouse’s safety.

Conversely, divorce rates might decrease due to a recession because:

  • Families have grown closer during those trying times, especially if many of them are home more often due to their evolving employment situation.

  • Economic insecurity from the recession and worries about the expenses that could result from a divorce may cause spouses to rationalize that staying together is the financially prudent decision.

  • Sons, daughters, and other family members, including extended family, might have moved in—or a married couple themselves might have moved in with other family members, lessening the burdens of a household facing financial and emotional hardship.

  • Couples may be more reluctant to marry due to the uncertainty of the times, and they may choose to cohabitate instead, which could prevent a future divorce.

Ultimately, the most telling observation from the majority of the data is that the timing of a divorce is key. For instance, during the recession over a decade ago, fewer and fewer people were getting divorced than prior to the recession, but immediately after economic recovery, divorce rates spiked.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

The many economic uncertainties in our world today may have had an effect on your marriage. If you think that divorce might be a good option for you, contact a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney at Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling our office at 630-871-1002. We will provide you with a free consultation and help you understand your legal options as you prepare to end your marriage.

Sources:

https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/05/02/divorce-and-the-great-recession/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444228/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/singletons/202004/more-babies-or-more-divorces-after-covid-19

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