How Lockdowns Are Affecting Divorce Rates
With roughly 2.6 billion people under some form of lockdown by the end of March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered daily routines. Various stay-at-home orders mean that many couples are now spending all their time together. Here is what you need to know about how these lockdown measures are influencing divorce cases.
Interest in Divorce Rises Following Lockdowns
On average, about 40% of first-time marriages end in divorce. However, COVID-19 divorce statistics show that these rates may be on the rise. In countries where lockdowns have already ended, like China, there have been record-high numbers of divorce filings. Even in regions where couples are still stuck at home together all the time, there are already signs that divorces are more likely to happen. Many divorce lawyers already report that they have had an unusually high number of people inquiring about divorce. The exact rate of divorces due to lockdown still is not known. However, many analysts agree that by 2021, there will be a huge increase in divorce rates.
The Reason Lockdown Is Causing Divorces
At first glance, it does seem like people under lockdown are more likely to get divorced. However, this does not mean that the lockdown itself is directly causing divorce. Instead, it means that already unhealthy marriages are more likely to end now. For most people, realizing a relationship has run its course is a long, drawn-out process. However, the stress of lockdown is speeding up this process.
For some, the financial and health worries of the global pandemic are exacerbating underlying problems. For example, a partner who tends to have some anger management problems might get worse now. Some spouses are constantly arguing and berating to relieve their own stress. In other cases, the lockdown might just give couples more time to realize they are no longer compatible. It is easy to ignore personality differences when you and your partner are busy and separated all day. However, when you have days spent together doing nothing, it can be easier to realize that romance has left the relationship.
Another sad reality is that the lockdown is forcing many people to be with their abusers nonstop. Globally, there are estimates that domestic violence cases have almost doubled during the lockdown. This lockdown domestic violence rise may be a wake-up call for some, making them realize their abuser is never going to change or get better.
The Rate of Finalized Divorces Is Lowered
Though more people than ever are realizing they need a divorce, this does not mean there has been an immediate and drastic spike in lockdown divorce cases. Instead, many people say they are putting off divorce until after the stay-at-home orders end. For those in a safe home environment who have children to consider, this may be a smart choice for the family. It could make it easier to avoid challenges like child care or finding a new home during the pandemic. However, in cases where there is a lot of violence or acrimony, it may be a good idea to go ahead and start the process of divorce. Divorce is always a slow process, and right now, family courts are not operating at full capacity. Even once courts start running again, it will take a while for them to get through their backlog of cases. This means that most couples who have realized they want to start the divorce process now will probably need to wait at least three to four months to get into court.
In many cases, waiting until after lockdown to get a divorce is not always possible. Therefore, you may want to go ahead and speak to a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer. Our attorney at the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner is currently working from home and providing remote consultations. We are familiar with handling the complexities of child custody, spousal support, asset division, and more. If you are a resident of Jenkintown who would like to learn more about starting the divorce process, go ahead and give us a call at (215) 886-1266.