The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a trail of destruction or rather forced strained circumstances on many of us. Over the past few months, thousands of people have struggled with unemployment, business loss and shutdown, drastic changes in lifestyles, homeschooling kids and caring for the full-time, money constraints, death of loved ones, mental illness, and overall stress of COVID-19 as an illness. With all these negative situations, you may have found yourself struggling to maintain your marriage, and consequently, filing for divorce.
More Couples Seek Divorce During the COVID-19 Pandemic
For the period between March and June 2020, the overall divorce rates were 34 percent higher, than the same period in 2019. According to Legal Templates, 31% of married couples found the lockdown devastating for their relationship. Understandably, the sudden change in circumstances, especially for the worse, can put pressure on everyone. The situation is not unique to the United States. Many Chinese couples also filed divorce after the lockdown.
Fights between couples are escalating as they continue to spend more time together, and struggle to find new ways to define their routines and relationships. Divorce attorneys are undoubtedly prepared to file more papers and fight for their clients, especially when it comes to property and children.
The hardest hit were newlyweds, mostly because they were less equipped to deal with the amounting stress of COVID-19 lockdown. According to the study, 58 percent of the couples filing for divorce, tied the knot in the last five years. 11 percent of these newlyweds had only enjoyed their union for less than five months. These couples were devastated by the pandemic and sought divorce as a solution.
Usually, couples without children have more divorces than couples with children. The latter tend to keep up a face “for the sake of the children”. It doesn’t mean that couples with kids are necessarily happier, but divorces that include children often have more mental and emotional turmoil. For couples with kids under 18 years, the stress increases since they need to determine custody.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the kids weren’t enough glue to stick people together. 45 percent of the interviewed couples had children under 18 years. The number represents a five percent increase from last year.
However, more couples were willing to split the costs of child healthcare. Presumably, COVID-19 fueled the need for excellent and accessible healthcare. 51 percent of the couples with children agreed to split the costs of healthcare insurance for the children, while only 38 percent were willing for the same period in 2019.
COVID-19 also struck a nerve in terms of mortality and preparation. In some instances, the spouses providing spousal support are required to carry a life insurance policy for security, in case of their death. More couples, especially those providing spousal and child support, took up life insurance policies. During the pandemic, 51 percent of separated spouses took life insurance policies averaging to around $382,599. For the same period in 2019, only 31 percent of the couple had mandatory life insurance policies averaging at $291,186.
The increase in policy uptake and amounts is significantly tied to the impact of COVID-19 on reflections of death. More people are aware of their impending passing and are making arrangements to be prepared.
The Behavioral Explanation of a Pandemic
The impact of the lockdown didn’t take as long to show. Within three weeks, couples were already seeking divorce papers. Experts explain that this is a natural wave of any disaster. At the beginning of the pandemic, people were afraid and uncertain. After the pandemic lockdown started, people felt the impact, and later found ways to salvage the situation through acts of heroism.
The altruism persists into a honeymoon phase where communities come together to help others. Unfortunately, hope crashes when people hit the disillusionment phase. There is a sudden realization that disaster assistance can only go so far and that the pandemic isn’t ending soon. Eventually, people make peace with the disaster and reconstruct their lives while grieving their losses.
It is during the disillusionment phase that many couples file for divorce. The couple becomes discouraged and loses all hope of recovery. It’s at this time that negative emotions rise and issues such as mental health illnesses and substance abuse spike. As the couple quits on their relationship, they begin to feel lonely and abandoned, which leads to further resentment.
Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Separating from your spouse is never the preferred option when a marriage begins. However, sometimes, it happens. Due to the pandemic, you may be spending more time with your spouse, in circumstances you’re unprepared for. Experiencing tension and stress is normal, especially in uncertain times.
A qualified attorney can guide you through the rules, and procedures of filing for divorce, separating property and deciding on child support. Lastly, a divorce lawyer can alleviate some of the burdens of going through a divorce.