According to a study done by Utah State University, the average divorcing individual can’t maintain their standard of living after a divorce. That study showed the average divorcee needs a more than 30% increase in income to maintain the same standard of living they had prior to their divorce.
It seems that women are hit the hardest when it comes to divorce, but statistics show that everyone is affected, and sometimes not in the ways one may think. About one in five women fall into poverty as a result of divorce. Part of the reason is related to children: three out of four divorced mothers don’t receive the full child support due to them. Another part of that heightened risk of poverty is related to home ownership: about 1/3 of women who own a home and have children lose their home to divorce. Research indicates that most women do not recover from the hit to their standard of living unless they remarry.
Men are hurt by divorce as well, losing, on average, about 10-40 percent of their standard of living. Those statistics depend greatly on the man’s circumstances. Those who provided more than 20 percent of their intact family’s income suffer significantly less than those who provide 80 percent or less. Unfortunately, the majority of men fall into the second category.
Studies have shown that the financial burden of divorce is most stressful on individuals during the first year after divorce, when the wounds are fresh and adjustment to new living and financial situations is a daunting challenge.
Divorce impacts the community at large. The Utah State study estimated that the average cost of a single divorce in the state equals a more than $18,000 burden on taxpayers. Couple that with the approximately 10,000 divorces per year in Utah, and the state’s taxpayer bill just increased by more than $180,000,000.
Why does it cost the state so much? When people fall into poverty, especially women with children, they turn to the government for help. Furthermore, children from divorced homes are more likely to get into trouble and rely on government services, including prisons, training programs, and support groups, for help. State programs and support systems are all funded by taxpayer money. Consider as well the impact a divorce has on the average child’s aptitude at school: children of divorced parents generally perform more poorly academically, which statistically decreases their likelihood of going to college or entering the workforce with a high-paying job. This, in turn, lowers their ability to contribute significantly to the local economy. Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule, but the impact on the state is determined by those who feed the statistic.
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