Contrary to popular opinion, the divorce rate is actually slowing. Whilst the number and rate of divorce continues to climb, it is doing so at a slower rate. The other myth is the notion that the divorce rate is climbing because of the GFC and the economic pressure that puts on relationships. Whilst partly true, the reality is that the GFC has conversely kept many couples together, admittedly unhappy couples, because they cannot afford to, or are not brave enough, to separate. They have seen their superannuation plummet; value of home and investments drop dramatically with job and income challenges testing them to the limit. The prospect of compounding that with a divorce to boot, is just not on many people’s agendas.
The reality is tough economic times puts pressure on relationships causing them to separate and others to remain together when they might otherwise have preferred to separate. Return to good economic times puts less pressure on many relationships thereby avoiding separation, whereas for others it is the opportunity they have been waiting for, “… now I can afford to make the move”.
Throughout the last five years we have seen literally hundreds of property and business valuations prepared by expert valuers which have professionally confirmed the real extent of the economic ‘fallout’ the GFC has had on Gold Coast property, businesses and families. We are now seeing, current valuations which are still conservative but they are more aligned with owners’ expectations of improved economic conditions, higher values and quicker turnaround. Generally a level of confidence in marked contrast to the last five years.
From a family law perspective, we anticipate an increase in separating couples confidently buoyed by their own vision of better economic times. No ‘floodgate’, but certainly an increase directly related to improved and changed economic circumstances. While Sydney and Melbourne may understandably be worried about ‘over-heating’, that is not presently a Gold Coast concern. Perhaps because the GFC hit the Gold Coast harder than anywhere else in Australia, the Gold Coast has learned a salutary lesson in caution – at least for the time being.