MILWAUKEE — How do tough economic times affect marriages?
There’s a common belief that recessions keep families together — either because they cannot afford the expense of divorce, or because tough times call for family solidarity. But so far in the current economic downturn, not every area in the United States is conforming to the notion. According to a recent report in the Pierce County Herald, the divorce rate in Wisconsin is more or less the same.
In 2007, when the current recession began, there were more than 16,000 divorces in Wisconsin — which is lower than in most parts of the U.S. but still not much different from the state’s usual divorce statistics. In fact, Milwaukee County saw a slight increase in the number of divorces: about 2,600 couples in the area called it quits last year, or about 20 more than before the recession.
Interestingly enough, more than half of the divorce cases in Milwaukee County last year did not involve a divorce lawyer on either side. Circuit Judge Michael Goulee told the Herald that many couples can no longer afford family law attorneys, even though more complicated divorce cases require legal assistance. But Judge Goulee also pointed out that many divorcing couples are finding it extremely difficult to sell their houses in order to split the property value between them.
Stephanie Benske, a Wisconsin divorce attorney, told the same paper that the recession has been forcing many couples to live together during their divorce, which only causes more tension between them.
So most people who want a divorce will get it, regardless of their financial situations. With or without a divorce lawyer, they’ll find a way.