Will the U.S. See its Divorce Rate Spike After the COVID-19 Quarantine Ends?
With so many American residents stuck at home with their families, prognosticators have predicted that several months down the road, the country could experience a baby boom and a divorce deluge. Unlike a cozy blizzard that keeps you home from work for a few days, a global pandemic that triggers shelter-in-place orders spreading over multiple months might result in more breakups than babies.
In sections of China, quarantines that lasted two months had many couples racing to divorce attorneys’ doors once the restrictions were lifted. The situation could have motivated spouses to make a move for several different reasons, such as:
- Spending too much time together — If absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps some couples broke up because they were forced to spend nearly all of their time together for weeks on end. This might even be more of a problem in China where typical residences are smaller. Without all of the distractions usually provided by everyday life, some Americans might also choose to move on if the enforced closeness led to a partner getting on their nerves.
- Realizing that there’s no time like the present — A harrowing experience frequently prompts people to evaluate where their life is headed and question if significant changes would make them happier.
- Worries about money — Regardless of whether a pandemic has led to financial chaos or families are dealing with the regular bills, battles over money can rip a couple apart. Tensions could be heightened by unemployment, furloughs or reduced business traffic.
No one can be sure what part of the spike in China’s divorce rate stemmed from the coronavirus and what part reflects pent-up demand after a long period of closures and exposure fears. Time will tell what will happen in the United States, but if you are looking to end your marriage, you should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer promptly. Seeking advice now can help you avoid mistakes that could hurt you in decisions relating to property division, alimony, custody and child support. Eventually the quarantine will end and you will be able to leave the house, and, if you need to, your marriage.