Predicted COVID Divorce Spike

The past year and a half has been tumultuous to say the least. Many lives have been turned upside down socially, financially or both. Isolation and restricted movement through stay-at-home orders have caused significant changes in our society and how we function in our everyday lives, especially in states with heavy COVID restrictions like Michigan. One of these changes is the prediction by many experts that divorce rates will see a significant rise globally over the next few years.

This prediction comes as a result of both preliminary observations as well as solid social science that clearly indicates the longer the time a couple spends together the more likely they will split. Divorces resulting from this type of situation can often be ugly as they are usually a result of deep seated issues coming to light that would have otherwise been brushed aside under normal circumstances. Working with an experienced family law attorney during the divorce process helps to ensure those who find themselves in these circumstances end up with the most positive outcome possible.

Difficult Circumstances

As mentioned earlier, the most difficult circumstances leading up to the current divorce rate is the significant increase in time spent together. In the past, couples were normally separated by eight to ten hours apart while one or both partners were working. This allowed space for certain issues and tensions to be swept under the rug so to speak. However, with the huge shift to remote work and widespread unemployment, this breathing room was eliminated and many couples found themselves in a constant state of bitterness and arguments from being stuck together constantly.

Studies surrounding the psychology of couples back this up as well. According to a University of Washington study, divorce rates typically go up after vacations and holidays – where couples spend an extended amount of time together. This often involves couples having to confront new situations or circumstances together outside of their normal routines. These new situations can impose stress on a couple, exposing cracks and faults in a marriage. In fact, there is even a “divorce season” that correlates directly with the two times of the year following holidays and vacations – January and August.

Many of the issues swept under the rug that are now coming to light thanks to COVID lockdowns are deep rooted. These often include certain habits or quirks that were previously ignored or tolerated at a low level due to them only being a small part of a daily routine. Others include more serious issues, such as fundamental differences in philosophical viewpoints – which have been brought to the forefront with the politicalization of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the traditional problems that are grounds for divorce such as lack of commitment, incompatibility and infidelity are amplified by the stress surrounding lockdowns and partners being stuck together constantly.

Considering the circumstances surrounding the pandemic as well as the science behind the stressors on relationships, it is very likely that there will be a spike in divorces after the pandemic has completely ended. One of the reasons why there has not been a huge spike as of now is because of the restrictions on courthouses in order to reduce the spread of COVID, which has put many non-criminal proceedings on the backburner. This is especially true for divorces involving large amounts of assets, which often require extensive legal battles to sort out.