How The Economy Has Changed Divorce

Divorcing couples can’t afford to live apart

Not that long ago when couples divorced they went on to lead totally independent financial lives but today this has changed dramatically. The housing collapse in 2008 left a long mark on the economy and also had a ripple effect on the ability of divorced couples to separate and live on a single paycheck. With the cost of rentals having increased to that of a modest mortgage there are large numbers of divorced or divorcing couples who not only can’t afford to keep their homes, they can’t afford to foot the monthly costs of renting an apartment either. And because housing markets are rebounding slowly even selling a family home isn’t giving either spouse any significant equity to start over. While the impact on couples who don’t have children is minimal, for those who do, it’s a complicated problem with very limited solutions.

The ‘new economics of divorce’, in addition to all the common challenges these parents will face, has forced them to think outside of the box of what divorce means and rather than severing economic ties, they’re transitioning into single life together rather than apart. Their very real financial limitations and their desire to protect their children are causing them to maximize their cash flow by continuing to live together after their divorce until they’re both in a stable enough financial position to separate. As unconventional as this may seem and regardless of what Family Court systems think, when couples are amicable, the benefits of this approach outweigh the negatives, especially when the economic choices many divorcing couples have aren’t really choices when they all mean significantly increasing expenses against a fixed level of income, and compromising the quality of life for children.

The increasing number of couples who are choosing mediation over hiring separate lawyers has been the biggest shift the divorce industry has ever seen. The next, using common sense and making financial decisions based on the best interests of a family over legal opinion, is occurring out of necessity and these factors, too, will redefine what divorce means for many parents and their children for years to come.

Showing 7 comments
  • denise

    does any one know if I need a lawyer to file in the state of ri?I want to do it myself. No battles, no real assets to divide..amicable..any advise out there?

    • Kevin Grover

      Hi Denise,
      You can file for divorce unrepresented by an attorney, but there are risks and the court procedure and the paperwork are not very user friendly for those unfamiliar with the court system. If you go without an attorney you will need to present your petition to the judge as an attorney would, not something the average person knows how to do and the paperwork doesn’t end the day you both enter court for your hearing. You will have to submit the final decree paperwork after the 90 day waiting period. Also, it is not unheard of for a judge to tell Pro Se litigants (unrepresented) to come back with an attorney if their settlement doesn’t pass the sniff test, so to speak. If your situation is really that amicable and simple then maybe using just one attorney might be something to consider… Thanks for your comment!

  • denise


  • Caryl Anne

    I agree that the shift to mediation has risen over the past few years. It not only saves money, but it helps to make the divorce process a little easier and more efficient on everyone involved. However, this only works though when both parties can agree to all terms. Thanks for sharing!


    Where do I get aregistered copy of divorce I,
    Need advice can,t find any site that has proper info.withought subscribing to it,
    Need this for driver renew in Fl.

    Thank You

    • Kevin Grover

      Hello Martha,
      I’m not sure what you mean by a “registered copy” of your divorce, but if you need a copy of your divorce decree and your divorce was final more than a year or two ago you’ll have to contact the RI Judicial Archives, 5 Hill St., in Pawtucket, RI. The number is 401-721-2641. Hope this helps…

  • Caleb

    The economy has presented a unique situation. Divorce has become too expensive. Couples are unable to pay for things on their own or be able to afford taking a hit on selling their home and so on. It definitely presents a challenge for both parties involved.

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