Posts Tagged ‘Divorce’

Fewer Couples Are Going to the Chapel

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

The number of American couples marching down the aisle to get married is in decline, with just 51 percent of adults reporting that they are married, according to the Pew Research Center and the Census Bureau.

The Pew Center’s study determined that new marriages in the United States fell five percent between 2009 and 2010; the slow economy likely was a contributing factor.  Compare the current record low of 51 percent of married adults with the 72 percent who were in wedded unions in 1960, according to the Pew Center.  The median age at first marriage for brides stands at 26.5 and for grooms it is 28.7.  That is the oldest Americans have ever been when they first married.

Researchers noted the United States is not alone in seeing a significant decline in marriage rates; other advanced, post-industrial societies are seeing the same long-term declines.  The Pew Center said that it is “beyond the scope” of the group’s analysis to “explain why marriage has declined.”

Some respondents just don’t like the idea of marriage. Nearly 40 percent of respondents believe that marriage is becoming an archaic institution.  They also report that in 2010, approximately 61 percent of adults who have never been married would like to be one day.

“The most dramatic statistics to me are when you look at the share of younger adults who are married now compared with in the past,” report author D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at Pew Research Center, said.  “That’s really been where you’ve seen the big decline.”  Pew researchers analyzed U.S. Census data from 1960 and data from the American Community Surveys from 2008 – 2010.

Flat wages are another factor. “The incentive to get married – because you could rely on a man whose real wages would continue to rise, who would get a pension at the end of it – has been undermined as well,” Cohn said.

According to Census Bureau statistics, 7.5 million couples lived together without being married in 2010, a 13 per cent increase when compared with the previous year.  The financial crisis has forced people to move in with partners.  Marriage rates are highest among college graduates (approximately two-thirds).  Less than half of high school graduates are married.

Not surprisingly, divorce is a factor impacting the ranks of the currently married, although it is unclear how important it has been.  Divorce rates rose in the 1960s and 1970s, but have leveled off in the past 20 years.  Approximately 72 percent of adults have been married at least once, down from 85 percent in 1960.

“If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years,” according to the Pew report.  “Other adult living arrangements-including cohabitation, single-person households and single parenthood-have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.”

“Well, it does not mean that marriage is dead,”  said Stephanie Coontz, a historian on family life at Evergreen State College in Washington state.  Many of those 20-somethings will sooner or later tie the knot.  “But what it does bring home to us is that we can no longer pretend that marriage is the central organizing principle of society. We have to take account of the many, many social networks and relationships that people cycle through, marriage being just one of them,” Coontz said.

“This marks a continuation of a long term trend,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center.  “If this trend continues, we are approaching a turning point where fewer than half of all adults in this country will be married.”

L.A. Dodgers Slugfest Is Not in the Ball Park

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The biggest battle in baseball these days isn’t being played out in the ball park but in the board room.  Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s recent takeover of the financially strapped Los Angeles Dodgers is perceived as a heroic act that likely will save the fabled franchise from the acrimonious divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.

Selig told McCourt that he intends to appoint a MLB representative to oversee all aspects of the club’s business and day-to-day operations.  McCourt appeared to signal his intent to challenge Selig’s decision.  “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow.  The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines,” McCourt said.  “On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action.”  The Dodgers have been in trouble since Jamie McCourt filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage and a week after her husband fired her as the team’s chief executive.  “I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club,” Selig said.

Late last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon overturned a March 2004, postnuptial agreement that gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the team, allowing Jamie to seek one half of the franchise.  “As the 50 percent owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I welcome and support the commissioner’s actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise and for Dodgers fans everywhere,” Jamie McCourt said.

Frank McCourt is expected to fight Selig’s decision.  He said that it is “hard to understand the commissioner’s decision” based on the fact that the Dodgers were in compliance with baseball’s financial guidelines.  Selig acted because McCourt, already embroiled in an acrimonious divorce case, took out a $30 million loan from Fox Broadcasting Company to meet payroll.  The loan was secured with funds that McCourt does not have and might never have.  The Los Angeles Times reported that the loan was given to McCourt personally rather than being backed through the team, so he didn’t have to get Selig’s approval.

Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College and author of In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig, said “The courts have generally agreed that leagues have a special characteristic that separates them from other businesses in that they have to cooperate with each other.  Because they are a unique business, they grant extraordinary powers to the commissioner to enforce certain governing rules.  I’d argue that the Dodgers case is a fairly typical case.  This is a marquee franchise that has been mismanaged by encumbering Dodgers assets one after the other.”  “No accountant would even let you put that on your balance sheet,” said Raman Sain, principal at Holthouse, Van Carlin & Trigt, an accounting firm that reviewed the Dodgers’ financial records.  According to Sain, the nature of the loan — as opposed to McCourt getting a traditional bank loan or line of credit – shows that the Dodgers’ financial situation was “pretty dire.”

Steve Soboroff, a former advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and currently the Dodgers’ vice chairman, differs with Selig and says that “Frank McCourt is financially fine.” He described the Fox loan as “This is like having money in the bank and having somebody hold your ATM card.  The money is in the bank.  The Fox deal is done.  These actions are not allowing him to access money.  That’s a lot different than saying he’s got financial problems.”

According to reports Selig took issue with that statement, but Soboroff stood his ground.  He cited the Fox deal, potential real estate development in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and unidentified “other potential new revenue sources” as potential sources of revenue.  “That would put the Dodgers in as strong a financial position as almost any team in baseball,” Soboroff said.