Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Emotionally and financially divorce is expensive

by Terry Bankert

Divorce is expensive financially and emotionally. Our national economy has had some affect on the number of divorces filing. Possibly it affects the rate of voluntary dismissal of cases filed. Most dramatic is that lost equity in investment to include the family home combined with loss of jobs leaves the separating couple with little assets a lot of debt and great difficulty in caring for children. My experience in this practice area has made me a better referral source for the public and private resources helping those in need. The old middle class may find that this is the first time they have needed assistance. A recent Flint Journal Article talks about this topic.

A recent Flint Journal Article ,linked,follows any modification is in []...

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Stay or go? Economy making it harder for some to afford divorce by Bryn Mickle The Flint Journal Tuesday January 06, 2009, 9:30 PM


After 26 years of marriage, Renita Worthington was ready to move on. The economy, however, didn't make it easy. The beating the stock market took last year, coupled with the crash of the housing market, left Worthington and her ex with a lot less to divvy up when they parted ways last year. Their Mundy Township house alone dropped $30,000 in value last year, said Worthington.

Now, the part-time Tupperware saleswoman and computer consultant has her freedom but struggles to make ends meet. "It's been a challenge," said Worthington. And she says she is not alone. "I talk to other (women) and they say they're in the same boat."

Local divorce lawyers say they are getting plenty of calls from people who want to end their marriages but aren't sure they can afford it. Aside from attorney fees and the $150 filing cost -- $230 if children are involved -- the bad economy has some unsure if they can afford to live on one income. "There are people living paycheck to paycheck," said (a)Flint attorney..... No matter what the emotions involved, (the attorney )... said people have to seriously consider whether they can afford to live on their own. "You can't just go headfirst into a divorce and expect it to all work out," she said.

Divorce isn't just about selling a house and splitting the proceeds anymore, said Genesee County Circuit Family Judge Michael J. Theile. With so many people owing more on their cars and homes than they are worth, Theile said it's not a question of dividing assets. "Now you have people agreeing to divide debt," said Theile.

Although the number of divorce filings in Genesee County was only slightly down last year -- 2,136 in 2008 compared to 2,232 in 2007 -- Theile said he is seeing more requests to drop divorce cases. "I sign one to two a week ... that's high (compared to past years)," he said.

Nationally, debate is split on how a bad economy affects the divorce rate. Last summer, a piece on NBC's "Today" show claimed that more couple's were forced to stay together because of finances.

Six days later, reported the Business and Media Institute, ABC's "Good Morning America" claimed that divorce rates were up because of the economy. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the U.S. divorce rate at a steady 3.6 to 3.7 per 1,000 people between 2005 and 2007. That's half the national marriage rate of 7.2 per 1,000 people.

Terry Bankert, a Flint attorney who drums up business with billboards proclaiming "," believes that more people right now just can't afford divorce. [This links directly to ]

In some cases, Bankert said he has told prospective clients that they are better off financially by staying together. When -- or if -- the economy improves, Bankert thinks the number of divorces will go up. "People are apprehensive and they want to see what happens," said Bankert.

(A) Flint Township attorney... sees the situation as a mixed bag. Some folks will put it off and look the other way, said(the attorney)..., while others just get fed up as money woes put further strains on already bad marriages. With Christmas over, (the attorney)... said his office can anticipate plenty of calls from folks who have made it through another holiday and now want to split. "It will go strong until March or April," he said.

For Beatrice Nagenast of Genesee County, the economy wasn't a factor in her divorce last year. She and her husband split their assets and went their separate ways after 20 years. "It was time," she said. ---end article

Posted Here by
Terry Bankert
First posted to Flint Talk

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