According to a new study, many low-income married couples are separating instead of divorcing.

The study, conducted by two sociology professors at Ohio State University, tracked 7,272 people from all over the country who:

The Results

The results showed that roughly 15% of couples who decided to separate, never ended up divorcing within 10 years. These couples generally fell into one or more of the following categories:

  • Low family income
  • Ethnic or Racial minority
  • Low level of education

These statistics indicate that many poor couples are using long-term separation as a way of avoiding the cost associated with divorce, child support, etc.

Katie Lammers Comments

“In Minnesota, counties that have an ICMC (Initial Case Management Conference) use that date as the valuation date (the specific date that assets or debts are valued),” says Minneapolis divorce lawyer, Katie Lammers. “Sometimes one party will argue that a different date, such as the date of separation, is a more appropriate valuation date.  It is within the Judge’s discretion to order a different date as the valuation date, but the separation date is not the default separation date under Minnesota law.

“It is also important to consider that the court may want to use a uniform date to value all assets and debts.  For example, a party may have contributed more to their 401k post-separation but the value of the homestead may have gone down.  So, the 401k would be higher but the equity could be lower.  The court would probably not use one valuation date for the 401k and one for the house equity.  The length of the marriage is also one of the factors examined by the court when determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance so a longer marriage could cause the court to analyze a maintenance case differently.”



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