IN every cloud there is a silver lining. As recession bites around Europe, in Spain at least the lack of money is keeping couples together.
According to the Spanish Family Law Association the economic depression is forcing a rising number of unhappy Spanish couples to stay together.
In the first quarter of 2008, the number of divorces fell 20 per cent on the same period last year.
The figures suggest a growing trend, with divorces in 2007 down to 130,897 from 140,000 the previous year.
Experts claim that as the country’s economic problems worsen, more couples are finding the cost of divorce and separate households beyond their reach.
Gonzalo Pueyo, of the Spanish Association of Family Lawyers, said: “In eras of plenty, divorces are more frequent. But when times are tough, many couples decide to maintain their standard of living rather than split the household and incur all those extra costs. They may live in the same house but not be a couple.”
Ander Gurrutxaga, professor of sociology at the University of the Basque Country, conducted a study that found some middle-class couples who split saw their standard of living drop drastically.
“Some are forced to live like students when they are no longer that age or want that life,” he said.
After 15 years of expansion, powered by a building boom, Spain is now officially in an economic crisis.
Pedro Solbes, the finance minister, admitted this week that Spain’s economy would contract in the third and fourth quarters this year.