Over the past 14 years, I’ve learned so much about life from my clients– and I think that is primarily because divorce impacts both genders of all races and socio-economic classes. No matter who you are, whether rich or poor, there is no way to truly insulate yourself from the possiblity of a divorce.

80% of Americans will marry, so approximately 40% of us will unfortunately have to deal with the sad reality that our vision of growing old “happily ever after” with our spouse has vanished. Putting aside the emotions, the economic reality of separating into two homes is never pleasant. There are issues of child and spousal support that need to be addressed, in addition to the division of assets and debt. These days unfortunately, there is a lot of debt to divide and far less assets now that home values are depressed.

When couples split, all of the sudden a once comfortable lifestyle may disappear when they have to maintain two separate households. Since I don’t believe in sugar-coating things, I don’t hide these realities from my clients, and in my opinion it is best to realize early on which battles are worth fighting and which ones are not. The only ones that truly gain from long, drawn out battles are the lawyers going to court.

The fact is very few people these days can afford protracted litigation, and that is precisely why I advocate so much for people to either mediate, collaborate or try private, cooperative negotiations outside of court. If you could see things from my perspective, you would perhaps understand why I believe that nasty divorces are dying out– it is not necessarily because the pain isn’t as intense now as it once was– it is simply because the economic reality of our time dictates that fewer people can afford a court brawl.

Our economic situation has impacted everyone across the board, it is just that not many people talk about it publicly. Again, it is because divorce does not discriminate that I can see how our economy impacts all sectors of our society, and if there is one good thing that has come out of the recession, perhaps it is that people are not taking divorce so lightly anymore– and when they do decide to head down that path, hopefully it won’t be a war path.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.