The novel coronavirus is having drastic effects on nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Jobs have been lost, businesses and schools have been shut down, and all but essential workers are expected to stay home in order to flatten the curve.
While having the opportunity to spend more uninterrupted time together may be welcome news for those in happy and healthy home situations, these latest developments may be devastating for those who are already struggling to make their relationships work. In fact, it’s clear that many marriages may not survive the pandemic — even if neither party becomes infected with COVID-19.
If you’ve already considered divorce or are concerned about how this new era of isolation might negatively impact your already strained relationship, you’re certainly not alone. Let’s take a closer look at what we know so far about how divorce rates are being affected and what you might want to consider during this time to move your life forward.
How COVID-19 is Already Impacting Divorce Rates
According to a study published in the Journal of Family Issues, roughly 19.2% of couples say they divorce due to incompatibility. When you’re restricted to staying in a small living space with your spouse for an undetermined length of time, those incompatibilities are bound to come out.
Preliminary reports from China suggest that divorce rates are skyrocketing. Cities like Xian and Dazhou both reported record-high divorce filings in early March. In Milou, located in the Hunan province, one city government website reported that “staff members didn’t even have time to drink water” because so many couples were lined up to file for divorce last month. One divorce lawyer in Shanghai told Bloomberg that his caseload increased by 25% since mid-March (when the city’s lockdown took effect). And while infidelity used to be one of the leading causes of divorce, legal experts are now reporting that poor communication and tension regarding trivial matters have led to major conflicts and irreconcilable differences.
This doesn’t mean that happy couples are bound to get divorced due to quarantine — but it does mean that stay-at-home orders can make existing issues that much more apparent and urgent. While we don’t yet know what the impact will be on the U.S., it’s easy to assume that many couples here will need divorce help in the coming weeks and months.
How Quarantine Might Help You Take the Next Steps
If you’ve simply been waiting for the right time to find a divorce lawyer, the very idea of being around your spouse for virtually every hour of the day and night might seem unbearable. While it’s possible this time together could provide you with the ability to reconnect, the more likely scenario is that self-isolation will bring out the worst in both of you.
However, staying home is the best way to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Although the situation might not be ideal, having so much time at home could actually help you to identify what needs to be done to move forward in life.
First, this is an excellent time to seek out divorce help. Since so many people are out of work for the foreseeable future, prioritizing a low cost divorce will likely be within your best interests. Conduct some thorough research to find an affordable divorce lawyer and contact them to see whether they might consider scheduling a consultation via email or video conference. At the very least, they should be able to provide you with some information that can help you to get organized for when stay-at-home orders are finally lifted.
You should also take this opportunity to gather financial and legal documents that you might need during and after your divorce. Discuss which documents your lawyer might need and set aside some time to track them down accordingly. Depending on your reason for filing for divorce, you may want to gather a bit of evidence to strengthen your case.
If you’ve already thought about obtaining divorce help, it’s likely that these current circumstances won’t make you reconsider. But the silver lining here is that you can usually find the divorce help resources you need from the comfort of your home. For more information, please contact our offices today.