For the past five or six years it's been no secret that the American
economy has taken a hit. The word 'recession' makes its way into the headlines
of nearly every US newspaper, not to mention the talk of jobs, budget cuts, et
cetera. Nearly every facet of the American lifestyle is suffering – and divorce
law is no exception.
Take, for example, Irene Georgakis, a housewife who, in 2007, discovered
that her husband was having an affair and she'd have to file for divorce. In
the midst of the lawsuit, her husband, who owns five companies in New York, is
claiming poverty in an attempt to avoid paying support. Irene is just one
spouse out of the many couples that are fighting both their divorce cases and
the economy. While some are avoiding the situation ever, choosing their lives
in their bad marriages over the potential bankruptcy that could come with
divorce, others are taking their cases back to court.
According to Cynthia Hartwell, a divorce attorney, it's a good time for
breadwinners to get divorced. "They can come to the court with a
compelling argument that they can no longer earn what they used to earn,"
she says. "The court is not going to impose an order on someone whose job
situation has changed dramatically."
When both spouses are out of work, it's particularly vexing for courts to
order support demands. Take, for example, one of attorney Steve Eisman's
clients, who was a mortgage broker. She no longer has income, and her husband,
who was a banker, got laid off. They've got no income to speak of now – how can
support be agreed upon? Those who once owned assets are now writing checks that
represent them at their lowest value – and happily.
Or how about in Houston, where a horse-breeder, who was represented by
Davis Brown of TX, and his spouse, a web-designer, decided to split. The
wife was originally entitled to $100,000 of the $300,000 shared investment
account, but when the economy nosedived, it became apparent to the wife's
misfortune that those gains were not going to happen.
These are a just a few cases in which money is making divorce an even
more unpleasant experience, if that's possible. While some may have once
repressed their negative feelings toward their ex-spouses due to receiving
alimony, there's now nothing to quell the animosity.