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Divorce Filings Get a Boost from Recovering Economy

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A recovering economy has provided a boost for, of all people, divorce attorneys.

After the great recession, more and more couples are seeking to finalize divorces after months of hesitation.

"It's been driven primarily by finances," says John Slowiaczek, the vice president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  "In Nebraska, where there is low unemployment, our practice was very healthy last year.  Now we are finding we have a lot [more clients]."

From January to April 2011, Slowiaczek says his firm, Lieben, Whitted, Houghton, Slowiaczek, and Cavanagh, saw an increase of 25 percent over the same period last year.

"When the market was down it was a great time to file," says Slowiaczek.  As the market began to pick up, more and and more clients are wishing they filed last year to decrease the size of settlements."

The recession created difficulties for couples on both financial and emotional levels, Linda Lea Viken, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told ABC News.

Couples may have "assets that have gone down in value, they may have a home that is underwater, and the business value has gone down, making it very risky for one side or the other to get a divorce during a financial downturn," says Viken.

Viken says some couples may have had doubts or insecurities about divorcing because they worried about paying the bills, which were once divided in half, on their own.

In 2009, 57 percent of the attorneys in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported a decrease in divorce filings.  The academy includes 1,600 attorneys.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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