The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on many families across the United States. The economy has taken a drastic, sudden turn due to the outbreak, changing significantly from one week to the next, making it challenging to assess the impact of the crisis in a timely way.
Evidence is already emerging that while the novel coronavirus outbreak will impact us all, it will impact us in markedly diverse ways. The pandemic and “Shelter in Place” orders are likely to cause adverse financial, emotional, and physical impacts on families with dependent children.
Will there be a Rise in Divorces due to the Pandemic?
At present, it is still quite early to understand whether divorce filings will increase after the lifting of the stay-at-home order. However, some legal experts do anticipate a rise in divorces.
For a couple who was already struggling to get along, being under quarantine in a close area with kids and nowhere to go can increase stress levels. It typically does not help to be at home for months if you are already not comfortable with each other and have previously discussed divorce.
Most interactions for a troubled couple will be negative or neutral. However, now that there is constant stress because they are unable to follow their normal routines, such as doing their own thing.
This is another negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has the potential to send the country’s divorce rate, which is already almost 50 percent, even higher after the divorce courts are fully functional again. According to attorneys and marriage counselors, the quarantine stresses are all too familiar-financial worries, boredom, no opportunity to escape from each other, altercations over the children, disputes over chores, lack of exercise-are influencing many couples to reassess how they feel about their spouses.
Anecdotal Indications Point to a Rise in Divorces
As it is too soon to confirm a potential rise in divorces ahead, there is no official data available at present. However, some attorneys and marriage counselors indicate that they are receiving more calls from individuals who say they are considering separating as soon as the lockdown ends, or even before that.
According to relationship therapist and media personality Venus Nicolino, future research will prove that there is a direct relationship between COVID-19 and a spike in divorces.
Nicolino, also known as “Dr. V,” says that similar to a rise in violence, anxiety, loss and grief, depression, and unemployment, we will witness a surge in divorce as a direct consequence of the outbreak. She further elaborates that when our relationship in society is impacted, it affects our relationship with each other.
Further, relationship Coach Lee Wilson cites his own unscientific survey of couples via email (including 734 respondents and conducted in late April). According to his assessment, coronavirus quarantines expose couples who do not have healthy “relationship dynamics.”
He reports that his survey found that around one-third (31 percent) of responding couples stated that the quarantine had adversely impacted their relationship, less than one-fourth (23 percent) said that there was no difference in their relationship due to quarantine.
Wilson says that boredom can be really detrimental to a relationship. The same daily routine can lead to depression, and couples on edge might end up immersing themselves in a negative situation. Wilson says that quarantine is pushing his clients to the point of depression much more rapidly.
In the opinion of some experts, remaining confined at home tends to cause situations where a couple might put all their problems into a frying pan and turn up the heat. Some will become aware that life is too short to be contentious. Couples who already find themselves in a complicated relationship may choose to get a divorce as soon as they can for the same exact reason- when life is so brief, why suffer in a bad relationship.
Rise in the Incidence of Domestic Abuse
The data available at present increasingly indicates that domestic violence and abuse is spreading like wildfire in conditions made rife by COVID-19. Bristol University sociologist Marianne Hester states that the writing was already on the wall that the type of social restrictions imposed to combat the virus will cause these consequences.
Hester studies abusive relationships and reports that domestic violence-related incidents always surge when families spend excessive amounts of time with each other. Hotlines are now flashing with domestic abuse reports as families are forced to be tied down to home due to the virus outbreak.
The United Nations has officially asked authorities to undertake urgent measures to address the global rise in domestic violence and abuse. In a recent tweet, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterras urges all governments to consider women’s safety when responding to the pandemic.
Consult an Accomplished Family Law Attorney
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, families have experienced various changes in their lifestyles. Families confined in close proximity for prolonged periods can lead to conflict and altercations, especially when a couple has “poor relationship dynamics.”
If you or a loved one has experienced domestic abuse due to the lockdown, or are considering a divorce, a compassionate and experienced family law attorney at The McCormick Firm can guide you every step of the way. Speak to a committed family law attorney at (205) 968-1302. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.