Couples who pay together, stay together, says a new study

More couples may be staying together for mostly monetary purposes, according to a new study A new study is suggesting that the Great Recession may be acting as a marriage counselor for couples whose relationship are on the rocks and, in some cases, even save the relationship – albeit for financial reasons.

According to a recent study released by W. Bradford Wilcox, the director ofthe National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the divorce rate in 2008 fell to 16.9 per 1,000 married women in 2008 from 17.5 per 1,000 married women in 2007.

Wilcox predicted many couples had probably committed to stay together as a means of debt consolidation and to avoid financial troubles that would occur if they separated.

"This divorce decline suggests that most married couples have not responded to the economic crisis of the moment by heading for divorce court," the report read, "Instead, judging by divorce trends, many couples appear to be developing a new appreciation for the economic and social support that marriage can provide in tough times."

Couples who do decide to separate may also have different priorities in divorce court than the may have had previously. Based on a recent study by University of Arizona professor Brent White, who recommended homeowners walk away from houses with mortgages that had more owed to them than they were worth, couples may be less likely to debate the ownership of a shared home that is losing value and decide to simply get rid of it instead.