Is COVID-19 Causing an Increase in Divorce Filings?
As the world has hunkered down and stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have moved to working from home instead of the office to help maintain health safety. The result of being home? Couples are now spending more time together than ever before without the separation of work, activities, and other life events. For many of them, the reality of 24/7 interaction with the same person in a high-stress situation is harmful to their marriage.
Problems on the Rise
While the virus itself isn’t the problem, the global ramifications have been. Schools have closed, many people are out of jobs, and thousands of businesses have shut their doors for the foreseeable future, which means that many people are confined at home with no reprieve in sight.
Due to constant contact and heightened stress, many problems that may have been ignored before are coming to the forefront of relationships.
With children permanently at home until the pandemic is over, parents are struggling to figure out homeschooling in addition to everything else they have to do. In some households, one parent takes a more lax approach to home learning, while the other parent does not support that mentality. Additionally, in regards to the pandemic, if mom or dad isn’t taking precautions seriously and working to keep the family safe, the other parent can find this unforgivable — possibly even grounds for divorce.
With roughly 36.5 million Americans experiencing job loss during COVID-19, the lack of income and resulting financial struggles can significantly strain a marriage. Additionally, if one spouse loses their job and the other doesn’t, resentment and insecurities can arise, further degrading the relationship and leading to a divorce.
If a spouse was cheating before the pandemic, it may be harder to hide an extra-marital relationship during stay-at-home orders. Text messages and phone calls that were concealed before are harder to hide since there is no distance from your spouse. Experts believe that as social restrictions continue, many people are going to resort to digital forensics to gather evidence of infidelity for their divorce proceedings.
Perhaps the biggest issue leading to divorce during COVID-19 is the rise of domestic abuse, not only in the United States but around the globe. Tensions can run high, stress builds up, and many people don’t have the coping skills to adequately deal with everything they are experiencing. In some cases this can lead to physical and verbal abuse between spouses, or spouse and family. Calls to abuse hotlines have markedly increased as couples are confined together at home and the issue is becoming one of
the concerns of the pandemic. Lawyers are commonly reporting that most of their calls about divorce are partially related to domestic abuse.
Lawyers Reporting Increased Number of Calls
Across the country, and globally, lawyers have been reporting an increase in calls to discuss divorce. A law firm in California has reported that they are getting around 500 calls a week to discuss divorce options and many firms throughout the U.S. are reporting similar numbers. Most lawyers agree that these numbers are likely to hold steady or even rise as the pandemic continues.
Things to Know About Divorce During COVID-19
Currently, most courts are just reopening and are backlogged. While it may be a while before a divorce can progress and be finalized, there are a few things you can get started on now if you want a divorce, and waiting will only put you further back in line. Your first step is to contact a lawyer and set up a consultation.
Once you have met with your lawyer — over the phone, via video chat, email, or in person once restrictions ease — they will advise you on steps to take to prepare for filing. These could include:
- Gathering documentation such as financial records
- Setting up a secure email for lawyer-client communication
- Paying your retainer fee
- And more
An experienced and professional lawyer can guide you through the entire process and what to expect while filing for a divorce during COVID-19. If you are looking for a lawyer in North or South Carolina, Collins Family & Elder Law Group is here to help.
Speak With a Lawyer
COVID-19 has affected every aspect of American life, including marriages. If the strain of the pandemic has led you to consider divorce, get in touch with the divorce lawyers at Collins Family & Elder Law Group. We understand how difficult divorce can be and have already experienced how this global virus has complicated the process. Let our lawyers assist you with filing for divorce during COVID-19 by giving Collins Family & Elder Law Group a call today.