Will Economic Recovery Mean More Divorces In California?

A recent report by the Los Angeles Times addressed a study finding that the divorce rate across the country is on the rise. According to the study, the spike in divorce rates is directly connected to the economic recovery. This finding was also supported in a piece recently published through Johns Hopkins University. According to a sociologist at the prestigious university, the divorce uptick is similar to a "Depression-era pattern." Although the rate of divorce decreased approximately 25 percent during the Great Depression, the Depression did not reduce the overall rate. Instead, it appears that the harsh economic times of the 1930s simply postponed the inevitable. Couples still split; they just waited until they got their financial footing.

It appears history is repeating itself. The more recent study, which was published in 2014 in Population Research and Policy Review, found that the divorce rate took a dramatic drop during the economic recession and was slowly rebounding.

Impact On Divorce Rates In California

Although the exact impact of increased financial security on the divorce rate in California is unknown, it is likely the state will follow the national average. As a result, couples throughout the state may be contemplating moving forward with a separation. California state law allows for three ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership. These methods are:

  • Divorce: Divorce is also referred to by state law as dissolution of marriage or dissolution of a domestic partnership. This process ends the marriage or partnership. California is a no-fault state, which means a divorce can be completed without the need to prove the relationship has failed. Often, a couple cites "irreconcilable differences." Once granted, each individual can remarry.
  • Legal separation: A legal separation is not a divorce. During a legal separation, a judge can make designations for custody, child support and property division without officially granting a divorce. Individuals with religious objections, financial concerns such as wishing to remain on a spouse's health insurance or other personal beliefs that lead to an objection to divorce may consider this option. Neither individual can remarry after receiving a legal separation.
  • Annulment: An annulment is granted when the court finds the marriage or partnership is not legally valid. This could occur in situations where bigamy is present or if the marriage occurred when one or both individuals were minors.

Although divorces are not uncommon, they are not easy. In addition to the emotional turmoil that can accompany a separation, several legal issues can arise. As a result, it is wise for those going through a divorce to contact an experienced California divorce attorney to better ensure that their legal rights are protected.