This year has been challenging on several different levels. This adversity has drawn some families closer together, while it has torn others apart. Data now indicates divorce rates are 34% higher in the spring and summer of 2020 than they were during the same time in 2019.
The list of reasons is not surprising, including unemployment and underemployment, financial stress, illness and mental illness, death of a loved one, and trying to homeschool children. These are general categories, but they also exacerbate other issues that strained the marriage before the advent of COVID-19.
Other important findings
According to the data, 31% of couples report that the lockdown caused significant damage to their marriage. The number of divorce filings started to climb in mid-April, about three weeks into the lockdown. Some speculate that functional if loveless marriages carried on before 2020 because spouses were able to focus on other things like work, kids, friends or activities that gave them time apart. There are also reports that new marriages are being hit hardest by the pandemic – 20% of divorces were by couples married five or fewer months.
Common reasons given
Some recurring explanations include:
- Couples stuck together: There are fewer distractions, which forces one or both partners to face the fact that they do not want to remain married to this person.
- Lack of support: Some cannot provide emotional support to a partner, perhaps either because of the challenges they face during these times or an inability to be empathetic.
- External issues: There is a lot of anxiety regarding the economy, the political climate, and contracting the illness.
Law firms have adjusted
Many businesses reopened over the summer, and others adapted and worked remotely. This includes law firms. So, clients now can work out many of the details of their divorce remotely because law firms provide legal help via video platforms like Zoom or by telephone, email and even text. In some cases, the Colorado Judicial Branch addresses divorce and other family law issues in virtual courtrooms or by phone. Those with questions about filing during this time should contact a family law attorney to discuss options.