I generally keep this post to issues important to divorcing couples such as financial, parenting and promoting respectful, cooperative divorce. Lately, however, the economy is topic one. Certainly the current economic downturn has a tremendous impact on divorcing couples but it impacts almost everyone in some way. Here are some completely random observations. These observations come from stories I am hearing from my clients, other lawyers in the community and my network of business entrepreneurs.
I do not have any statistics but from what I am observing and hearing from my colleagues, people are holding off on getting divorced. I wouldn't put this in the category of good news because it is not a happy situation for these folks. In the last month I have had at least three couples postpone their divorce because they were experiencing financial problems and could not afford to live in separate households. I am concerned for children living in such a household and I feel sorry that the individuals can't move on with their lives.
Divorce among the affluent isn't any easier. Many of my high earner clients have seen bonuses and commissions greatly reduced. It is not unusual among these high earners to live on credit until the bonus comes in. Now without a bonus they are facing high credit card debt. That neighbor in the high priced house may not be doing as well as you see from the outside.
Other Random Effects
My colleagues who practice DUI defense tell me business is down. Are people drinking at home and not driving? That could be a good result. What I am told, however, is that drivers are going to court without representation and hoping for the best. Never a good idea. Not only is a defense lawyer important in court, a defense lawyer assists clients with Department of Licensing issues.
The wine wholesalers are still doing well. (Was that a segue or what?) Their orders from restaurants are way down but the orders from wine merchants are up. People are enjoying their wine at home.
I heard this morning that medical providers are doing a booming business because people are hurrying to get their health care issues taken care of before they lose their health insurance. Not exactly optimistic news and may lead to higher insurance premiums.
Who is doing well?
Ice cream! Traditionally vendors of premium ice cream do well in economic downturn because people can treat themselves to a luxury that doesn't break the budget.
Mental health counselors. This seems obvious, as long as people still have health insurance they are going to counselors to deal with stress issues. I'm guessing those folks delaying the divorce are seeing counselors also.
I hear that this is another form of self care people will indulge in to feel better.
A mixed bag. Some women have had to cut down on weekly manicures but some have added them in the low price luxury/self care category. I wonder how business is for hair dressers? I won't use my own experience here!
I would love to see comments from others of their observations. Then let's all focus on the positive and know better times are coming.