Sunday, December 5, 2010

Next Financial Crisis: The Divorce Bubble

New York Times:
But when Ms. Pont decided to seek a divorce last year, she quickly ran out of money. She had no job. Her husband controlled the family’s investments. A few months of legal bills maxed out her credit cards and drained her retirement account.

She wrestled with accepting a smaller settlement than she considered fair. Then a lawyer referred her to Balance Point Divorce Funding, a new Beverly Hills lender that offers to cover the cost of breaking up — paying a lawyer, searching for hidden assets, maintaining a lifestyle — in exchange for a share of the winnings.

In October, Balance Point agreed to invest more than $200,000 in Ms. Pont’s case.

With some in the financial world willing to bet on almost anything, it should be no surprise that a few would see the potential to profit from the often contentious and emotional process of ending a marriage.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get outraged about this, but I can't. Lots of people stay in bad marriages because they quite literally can't afford to get a divorce. On the other hand, those people aren't likely to be the ones who become the object of a Balance Point "investment." But lots of financial "innovations" start with the wealthier classes and work their way down. It might be worth it -- as long as this new industry doesn't give rise to a class of divorce speculators.

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