The longer the COVID-19 quarantine goes on, the more rumblings we’re hearing in the media that a spike in divorce rates is coming, and there is some evidence that it could become a reality.
Take New York, the state with by far the most coronavirus cases in the country. A recent New York Post report quotes several family law attorneys as saying that they are fielding high volumes of calls from people whose marriages are cracking under the weight of the quarantine.
There has been an actual increase in divorce in China, the first country to experience lockdowns due to the coronavirus. In the city of Xi’an, where divorces sprang up rapidly after quarantine restrictions were eased in March, an official pointed out, “Many couples have been bound with each other at home for over a month, which evoked the underlying conflicts.”
It’s not just the quarantine itself but the COVID-19-related financial difficulties that may impel more couples to consider splitting up. When the financial markets crashed earlier this year, many people saw around 30 percent of their net worth vanish. Millions of people lost their jobs or saw their incomes severely reduced due to severely curtailed business activities. Money is already known to be the number one cause of divorce, even when times are prosperous. But the combination of the coronavirus and the money problems it causes could fuel more marriage breakups than money alone ever has.
If you’ve discovered during quarantine that your marriage has gone off course, it may be a good idea to speak with a family law attorney. You can then prepare yourself mentally for the divorce process and the life changes that will likely result. Even if you are unsure about splitting from your spouse, it may be useful to learn about your options. Courts are running on reduced schedules, handling only emergent matters, and may experience significant backlogs once they fully reopen.
At Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C., in Tacoma, we have extensive experience in all aspects of Washington divorce law. We would be happy to speak with you over the phone or through a video conference to discuss your situation during this pandemic. Reach us by calling 253-272-5653 or by contacting us online.