Many media outlets are reporting a fall in divorce rates due to today’s troubled economy (see: Hitched to the Economy: Divorce rates drop as couples realize it’s cheaper to stay together and ‘I just want to leave him, but I can’t afford it.’ Unhappy couples staying together as economy makes divorcing too costly.) There may be some truth to this over all, but personally, I have yet to notice this trend.
Marital stress and financial problems often get caught up in a vicious circle. Financial problems tend to put additional stress on an already strained relationship. Many families are having a tough enough time maintaining one home. The extra financial responsibility that comes with maintaining two homes can be unmanageable. But staying in a miserable marriage may be detrimental to your (and your children’s) mental health. It is a catch-22.
So what should you do if caught in this horrible situation? Take some time to really evaluate your situation.
Go over your financial situation. Can you spend less or earn more? Is your debt load manageable? Is there any relief in sight? Is this a short-term or long-term setback? Should you consider bankruptcy?
Then consider your desire for a divorce. If the breakdown of the marital relationship has reached the point that living together is unmanageable, it really is time to get out. You need to take care of yourself, take care of your emotional and mental well-being.
And just because finances are tight, it doesn’t mean you need to go without the advice of a lawyer. Find a lawyer who will work with you to keep your legal fees down, or offer some sort of unbundled services.