The Impact of Covid on Divorce Rates

After declining for several years in a row, the divorce rate in the U.S. reached a record low in 2019. But when COVID-19 began spreading across the country and the world in March 2020, it was assumed that quarantine measures, job losses, economic uncertainty, and the emotional toll of lockdown would produce a new surge of divorce cases. This compounded stress was tough enough on healthy relationships. But if a marriage was already in trouble, being cooped up with an estranged spouse seemed like a recipe for disaster. Yet reports by Bloomberg News, The New York Times, Forbes, and other media revealed something else: the divorce rate was actually falling.

The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear. On the positive side, perhaps the extra time together brought couples closer and created opportunities to work out their differences. Or for those with children, it may have revealed the importance of parents staying together for the good of the family unit.

There may also be practical reasons. For example, divorce can be expensive. Also, while the decision to split up is rarely just a financial one, the current economic realities may have meant couples were unwilling to start divorce proceedings during a time of such uncertainty. Whether people are choosing to work things out or simply postponing divorce remains to be seen.

A few of the most common relationship issues are financial stress, disagreements about parenting, poor communication, and boredom with the status quo — all of which were heightened during the pandemic. For now, it’s too soon to know whether divorce rates will increase over the next year. As more people return to work, and life returns to something resembling normal, we may see a pent-up demand for divorce and family law services.

If you are contemplating divorce and would like to discuss your options, please contact us at 253-844-4412 or via email for a consultation.

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