Will divorce rates jump because of coronavirus?

People commit to a marriage with the concept of “til death do us part” yet unfortunately not everything works out that way. Divorce is a byproduct of marriage and happens for a wide number of reasons.

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Sadly, the recent coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on every industry and institution in America, including marriage. The ripple effect of coronavirus has disturbed everything including the sanctuary of marriage.

Couples face many challenges maintaining a strong and healthy relationship during a pandemic. The government forced lockdowns has put many relationships in difficult situations where people are spending overwhelming chunks of time together and sometimes struggling for an adequate escape.

The divorce rate in China has increased after COVID-19 appeared in the country and lockdowns started to impact many things, including relationships. It will surely have a similar effect here in the United States.

What is the coronavirus doing to marriages?

When a New York lawyer got a call in the middle of the night from a wife that she was on the brink of losing it [1] because she felt trapped with her husband and could not get out because of the lockdowns, the association with how marriage might get affected by the coronavirus pandemic started to become very real and clear.

There is no doubt about it that the novel coronavirus will have a negative impact on marriage just like the poor impact it has on practically every other industry. The divorce rate has increased in China since it started recording cases and implemented strict lockdowns.

The government shutdowns across the globe have forced couples into tight quarters with each other. While one or both partners was used to having a release and escape during the day at work, they are now cramped in an apartment or home with a significant other.

When you combine more forced time of interaction with other worries like financial problems (considering the high unemployment rate) and lack of places to socialize outside the home, you have what will contribute to a mental health crisis in the United States.

Can your marriage survive?

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Everyone’s way of life has been significantly altered since COVID-19 emerged. People that lost their jobs, relocated to a home office, and now have children to manage 24/7 (with the shutdown of schools) has put couples in a tight spot.

Long-term confinement is not good for the soul in the same way a prisoner is not meant to be in solitary confinement for years because it’s bad for mental health. Now that many stores, restaurants, and public places are closed (or operating at limited capacity) there aren’t many places to retreat or escape to which can easily ignite clashes with a significant other.

Thankfully, therapists are working overtime to provide help for couples that are struggling with their marriage during these trying times. It is possible to save a marriage in any setting, and some couples may come out stronger with the opportunity to spend more quality time together.

Strong communication, making compromises, and showing signs of affection are all practical tips to a healthy marriage [2] in any situation.

The Divorce – Finding a Lawyer

There are situations where saving a marriage seems close to impossible. The divorce rate will increase in the United States over the coming months. Unfortunately, reaching a divorce might require some patience as many courtrooms are shut down right now aside from emergencies.

Getting a divorce is a type of lawsuit that requires a process which goes through a court system. The good news is that you can make progress on a divorce while courtrooms continue to adjust and figure out ways to manage its caseload in wake of COVID-19.

These steps will help prepare and protect yourself (with the help from a lawyer) as you proceed with divorce filings:

1. Find a Lawyer

Any reputable law firm is available for a free consultation with absolutely no commitment required. You should contact a few different law firms and find the attorney that can represent your case the best. Each divorce is unique and requires a good relationship between the estranged partner and his or her lawyer.

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2. Review Your Finances

The most critical aspect that needs to get settled in divorce proceedings after the children (if applicable) is personal finances. A significant part of the divorce hinges on dividing assets, some of which might be tied into complex things like retirement and investments.

Financial advisors (along with your lawyer) can help review your finances and create a plan to get what you deserve in court proceedings. Additionally, there are new government programs that are designed to assist individuals struggling with finances amid COVID-19.

3. Job Loss & Paying the Bills

Sadly, many people have lost their jobs or receive less hours per week than normal in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it is plausible that one or both partners involved in a divorce are dealing with job issues.

A spouse that lost a job or is experiencing a dramatic change in income might change temporary support payments or complicate divorce negotiations. Unfortunately, government programs are not currently available to supplement child support payments and other issues that need to get settled before a divorce is finalized.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Get Spousal Support

4. Selling the House

If you own a home with a significant other, you will need to decide who retains the title or if the property is going to be sold. The economy is very unstable thanks to COVID-19, however, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to sell in this market.

You will need to talk with your partner and figure out the best course of action for the home. It is hard to predict what the near and long-term impact will be on home prices yet it factors into your divorce proceedings.

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5. Protecting the Children

It is important to remember that a divorce affects the children just as much as adults, especially in difficult times like the present. Consequently, you need to factor their health and safety into the equation.

In addition to managing custody and visitation rights, you need to work together to make sure your kids are dealing with the situation as best as possible. Remember to always put your kids before yourself, especially when emotions are running high.

Related: Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer During Initial Consultation

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