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Recession Kills The Mood: Americans Put Off Marriage, Children (And Divorce) Because Of Economy

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Some Americans are putting off marriage and children because of the economy, according to a national survey released Wednesday.

Eleven percent of Americans surveyed said they planned to postpone marriage, and the same number said they are waiting to have children, according to the survey by legal website FindLaw.com.

But an even greater indication of the effects of the brutal economic downturn is that some people are postponing divorce. Four percent of those surveyed -- unhappy married people -- have decided to stick together because they don't like the looks of the national economy.

"We'd been hearing anecdotally from attorneys that people have been postponing some of these major life decisions because of the economy," FindLaw.com spokesman Leonard Lee told the Huffington Post. "We were surprised by the extent to which people are postponing these life decisions."

"The fact that 4 percent said they'd postpone a divorce, that was kind of eye opening," Lee said.

Lee said it's important that people understand the financial and legal implications of decisions to marry, have children, adopt, or divorce. The implications of a divorce, requiring spouses to disentangle from each other and worse, possibly unravel a mortgage, can be very serious in this market.

The trend is more pronounced among young folks and poor folks. Thirty-seven percent of people between 18 and 34 said they were postponing marriage, divorce, or children. Thirty-five percent of those with less than $35,000 in yearly household income said they were putting off a big decision.

Still, most Americans don't make life decisions based on broad economic trends. Eighty-two percent of all survey respondents said they don't care what the economy's doing when they make a major life decision.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the marriage rate has steadily declined from 2000 to 2007, while the divorce rate has risen. The birth rate declined from 2007 to 2008.

HuffPost readers: Are you putting off a big life decision because of these broad economic trends? Let us know! Email arthur@huffingtonpost.com.