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Individual and Social Costs of Divorce in Utah

ABSTRACT

This preliminary report provides an overview of the economic consequences of divorce for couples experiencing divorce in Utah. The economic impact on the divorcing individuals, the surrounding communities in which they live, and the state and federal governments were assessed. The data collected in Utah reveals that the federal government absorbs the most substantial costs, including a host of expenditures related to welfare assistance and medical costs. The 9,735 divorces in Utah during 2001 cost the state and federal government nearly $300 million in direct and indirect costs. Extrapolation from these estimates reveals that divorce and its direct and indirect economic consequences cost the United States $33.3 billion annually. Implications for social policy and strengthening marriages are provided.

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Additional information

A longer version of this paper, including a cost analysis breakdown for each state, is available from the author. This paper was originally written while the author was at Utah State University. This report is based on initial research findings by Dr. Steven L. Nock and Dr. David B. Larson. I would like to thank Dr. Brent A. Barlow, Brigham Young University, and Drs. Kathleen W. Piercy and James P. Marshall, Utah State University, for their valuable assistance in this research. A special thanks also goes to the reviewers for their invaluable comments on earlier versions of this article.

David G. Schramm, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, 203 Spidle Hall, Auburn, AL 36849; e-mail: schradg@auburn.edu.

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Schramm, D. Individual and Social Costs of Divorce in Utah. J Fam Econ Iss 27, 133–151 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-005-9005-4

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Keywords

  • divorce
  • economic costs
  • government
  • marital dissolution
  • marriage