A recently released study sheds an interesting light on the ways that California families shifts according to the economy. The study looks at data on divorce rates from 1978 to 2009, and compares those numbers against unemployment data from the same years. Researchers discovered a trend that suggests that couples will stay together during tough economic times, and will divorce more often when times are easier.

In addition to these statistics, a separate study conducted by the National Marriage project looked at surveys of married persons between the ages of 18 and 45. Among respondents who claimed to have been considering marriage prior to the recent recession, 38 percent stated that they put those plans aside when the economy worsened. However, when things began to improve in 2009, the divorce rate began to climb once again, suggesting that the delay in divorce was just that: a delay and not a decision to remain together for the long haul.

There are a number of factors that could lead couples to try and work things out during tough economic times. In some cases, dealing with hardship could simply bring a couple closer together and solidify their commitment to family ties. In many case, however, the decision has more to do with an attempt to postpone the expense of divorce and the resultant household division.

California couples who are considering a divorce but feel that the economic outlook is too bleak to move forward should consider a shift in perspective. While many people look at divorce solely as an end, it also represents a new beginning. Making the change from married to single can be an intimidating prospect, but once the process is complete, many people find the time and energy to focus on their career or take the leap into a new field of employment. As with so many things in life, once a decision has been made to end a marriage, postponing the process usually serves no purpose.

Source: The Marquette Tribune, “Divorce rates lower during recession,” Melanie Lawder, Nov. 20, 2012