The tanking economy made married people feel even more miserable. Beyond the usual lack of work-plummeting home values-decimated savings concerns, there was the financial compulsion to stay married, experts say, because the economics of getting divorced were also in the tank.
But now the restraints are off, and people are sprinting to the courthouse, getting those divorces and diving back into the singles pool, statistics show.
In the State of NoVa, the raw numbers of divorces and annulments rose 18 percent from 2009 to 2011. Statewide, in the same period, divorces only rose by about 7 percent.
While Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties experienced a trough in Splitsville around 2008 to 2010, Loudoun’s divorce numbers rose steadily (along with their population), and Alexandria doesn’t even know what we’re talking about: Their divorce numbers shot constantly upward throughout the whole “recession” business, to where they had nearly as many as Fairfax County last year, with only one-seventh the population. Alexandria’s courthouse is apparently known among lawyers as a very quick and efficient place for divorce proceedings.
A study done by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, released in February 2011, said the recession had brought “greater commitment to stay married,” which is one way to spin it. The report acknowledged that financial strains had created “diminished marital happiness” for many, which led 38 percent of respondents to “table or cancel their plans to divorce or separate.”
Joe Condo, a McLean divorce lawyer and former state bar president, said his colleagues in the Family Law Bar all noticed a big drop-off in new clients at the start of 2009. “I think people definitely put off divorce,” Condo said, “because their pensions and 401(k)s were devastated and their houses were upside down. It was unthinkable then. But people are coming back out of the cave now.”
Here are the numbers of divorces and annulments granted annually in each of the four counties and one city of the State of NoVa:
Source: Virginia Department of Health
H/T: L. Lemmonds, Tully Rinckey