Residents of DeKalb County may have been surprised to learn in August 2011 that states in the South had the highest rates of divorce in the country. With divorce rates one point higher for men and 1.4 points higher for women than the national average, the large number of divorces was also linked to the high rates of marriages. What may be even more surprising, however, is that the states with the highest rates of divorce also have the highest rates of poverty, indicating a link between poverty and divorce that many in the family law field may not have seen before.

Just one month prior to the report on Georgia and the South’s high divorce rate, a study was released that said that men who lost their jobs were more likely to start divorce proceedings than their wives. Though women’s employment status did not have a bearing on whether men chose to divorce their wives, it appears that a man’s inability to financially provide for his wife causes considerable marital strife.

Three has also been a growing trend among unhappy couples to legally separate rather than divorce. While there are benefits for separation over divorce, it appears that one of the reasons is because of cost. Trying to afford a divorce, especially with children, can be extremely difficult for some couples who are already living in poverty. In a survey of people between the years 1979 and 2008, a majority of the people who had separated also got a divorce within three years of separating, but around 15 percent of the people said that they waited at least 10 years before divorcing because they could not afford it.

Though divorce is certainly emotionally and financially difficult, there are many people in Georgia for whom it is the only option. Living with a spouse or even separating may just be too hard and, in the end, be worse for both of them. Of course, making the decision to file for divorce is an intensely personal one, but it is also one that can be made easier by learning more about the process from a family law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Money And Divorce: What Recent Divorce Research Has To Say About Poverty’s Effect On Marriage,” Brittany Wong, Aug. 29, 2012

Find out more about the family law process after making the decision to get a divorce.