The pandemic has forced many of us to spend a lot more time at home. While some couples and families enjoy all this together, it has had the opposite effect on other couples who feel trapped under the same roof day and night. This has led to a spike in the divorce rates in 2020.
According to a recent news report, the rise in divorce filings began just a few weeks into the initial lockdown in mid-April — the number of couples planning to file for divorce jumped 34% between March and June 2020 over the same period in 2019. There is additional evidence that the trend remains on the upward incline as the country heads into 2021. The data also showed that 31% of couples admitted that the lockdown caused irreparable damage to their marriage.
Why the increase?
These are stressful times, and there are common factors that are affecting many out there:
- The economic uncertainty of the times
- Many are unemployed or underemployed.
- Many are forced to work outside the house under challenging conditions.
- Some mourn the death of loved ones.
- Some are ill or have a fear of illness.
- Some are trying to homeschool the children.
- Many are working and living in the same space.
Current circumstances exacerbate mental illness.
Other factors unique to the marriage also prompted the couple to realize that the marriage wasn’t working. Newlyweds, for example, were particularly hard hit – couples married in the five months before the lockdown made up 20% of all divorce filings. There are also reports that living on top of each other meant spouses caught more cheaters and others engaging in secret behavior.
Divorce is still possible at this time
The court schedules are packed during normal times, and the restrictions regarding safety protocols have further slowed the process. While some courts are open and judges are using video conferencing, couples may wish to use alternative dispute resolution like mediation to create a fair and equitable divorce agreement. If the couple is willing, this format can address all areas in dispute. It is also typically faster, less expensive and less stressful than litigation.