The Big Business of Divorce

The subject of divorce continues to dominate news headlines here in the US and abroad. There has always been an active discussion about the divorce rate – ‘half of all marriages end in divorce’ is a statistic that virtually every adult can recite from memory. But, during the past decade or so since the adoption of 24 hour cable news shows and the proliferation of the Internet, it seems that the business of divorce continues to thrive despite the ‘great recession’.

According to the website MaritalStatus.com, the business of divorce is a $28 billion a year industry. That’s big bucks for a sector that focuses on a seemingly negative product – the breakup of a marriage and family. But lest you believe that it’s divorce lawyers only raking in the dollars – MaritalStatus.com claims the average cost for a divorce is $20k though we certainly do our best to minimize costs in our Family Law practice in Annapolis, Maryland – there are so many related industries that reap the benefits of the revenue flow in the business of divorce – financial planners and accountants, psychologists and other mental health counselors, authors and magazine publishers, and celebrity news websites and bloggers like the Huffington Post.

How many articles have you seen about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s pending divorce? According to a Google search, there have been thousands of stories over the past few weeks second only to the scandalous speculation about Kim Kardashian’s alleged split with her husband of two months. Even a z-list celebrity like former Real Housewives of DC star Michaele Salahi and Journey guitarist Neil Schon make news due to their made-for-tabloid extra-marital affair and upcoming divorces. So the obvious business question is where’s the next emerging market for the big business of divorce?

The answer may lie in the small nation of Malta. This Country was one of the last places in the world where divorce was an unacceptable and unrecognized institution, but that is true no longer. On Friday, the Maltese Courts finally granted the nation’s first divorce. It was a relatively simple case factually – the parties had been separated for 21 years and had no minor children – but it was a huge advancement in the legal rights of Malta’s citizens. We won’t comment on the societal mores or the moral and religious aspects of divorce, but we do wonder what will now happen to the business of divorce in Malta. Time will tell if market demand for divorce will grow now that it’s an available remedy for an intolerable marriage. The business of divorce may have just found an untapped market.

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