Stronger Marriage

The Costly Consequence of Divorce

Utah State University
Family, Consumer, & Human Development

June 25, 2003
Contact: David G. Schramm, (435) 797-1542

Divorce Costly For Utah And Nation

A recent preliminary report entitled, "The Costly Consequences of Divorce in Utah: The Impact on Couples, Communities, and Government" conducted at Utah State University by researcher David Schramm, examined the economic impact divorce in Utah was having on the state and federal government in addition to communities and couples involved. Subsequent results were utilized to calculate divorce costs for every state in the nation where data were available. The recently concluded study reports the following findings:

* Divorce in the United States costs $33.3 billion annually, or $312 per household.
* The "average" divorce in America costs state and federal governments $30,000 in direct and indirect costs. This equates to an estimated $125 million per 1 million population.
* The 9,735 divorces in Utah (2001) cost the state and federal government over $300 million in direct and indirect costs.
* Direct costs to the state total $77 million, or nearly one-fourth of the total costs. These expenditures include child support enforcement, Medicaid costs, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds, among others.
* The total direct costs to the federal government, from Utah's divorces, are an estimated $128 million per year. These also include expenditures associated with Medicaid, TANF, food stamps, and public housing assistance.
* Costs to the couple equate to approximately $18,000, and include lost work productivity, relocation costs, and legal fees, which vary immensely.

For more information contact:
David G. Schramm
Utah State University
2705 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-2705
Phone: (435) 797-1542
Fax: (435) 797-7220

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