Global finance crisis crunches marriages: report

Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:30am EDT
 
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CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Global markets may be edging toward recovery, but the worst impact of the global financial crunch on families and couples may be still ahead, a leading Australian charity said Wednesday.

"The economy, we've been told, is showing 'green shoots'. We've certainly not seen that," Kasy Chambers, executive director of Anglicare Australia, told Reuters.

The crisis of the past year is still driving a wedge between couples and families, and could bring higher rates of divorce and breakup in the months ahead as more people lose jobs and come under financial stress, Chambers said, releasing a new report on the impact of the global crisis on families.

"If one member of a couple experiences unemployment in one calendar year, they are 70 percent more likely to experience divorce in the following year," she said.

The report said the financial fallout may continue for almost another year as companies tried and sometimes failed to retain staff. One in three families have already experienced financial distress this year, government reports show.

"What we've seen is a real lag," Chambers said. "We've started seeing people we've never before seen in emergency relief services such as those with mortgages, people you wouldn't expect to be coming to us."

Australia's economy grew by 0.6 percent last quarter, as Chinese resource demand helped the country steer clear of a recession buffeting other major economies.

The stronger-than-expected performance should see official forecasts for 8.5 percent unemployment in 2010 cut back in mid-year revisions.

(Reporting by Patrick Ingle; Editing by Rob Taylor and Sugita Katyal)