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Is COVID Causing an Increase in Divorces?

Complications during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a spike in divorces in a number of ways. The combination of stay-at-home orders, financial stress, health crises, and grieving has caused many couples with struggling relationships to initiate the divorce process.

How the Pandemic Is Leading to a Higher Divorce Rate

Professionals who work with couples are seeing an increase in talks about divorces and certain trends that weren’t present before the pandemic. For example, neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez told NY1 that the lockdown seemed to have made it challenging for clients in difficult relationships to ignore the problem.

While prior to the pandemic, couples could resume their daily lives outside of the home and continue going to work, the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders made those couples understand that their problems weren’t going to go away.

Dr. Hafeez saw an increase in questions from her clients regarding marriage counseling, child custody and visitation, or even abuse.

Searching for More Information About Divorce

Attorneys are also seeing an uptick in divorce-related topics, with thousands of views on articles discussing the divorce process. Couples are also beginning to perform more searches on search engines for information around divorce, leading to a 32-percent increase between March and May 2020 in nationwide searches for “divorce,” a contrast to the 6-percent decrease seen in the same period in 2019.

In addition to general searches, people are also performing more searches for divorce attorneys. Nationally, there has been a 27-percent increase in lawyer referrals between March and May of this year, again contrasting the 11-percent decrease seen in those same months the previous year.

Couples Coming to Terms with the State of Their Relationship

While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t directly responsible for an increase in divorces, many couples whose relationship has already begun fraying have had more time to confront the issues they face. Living in close quarters without the ability to spend time out of the house or visiting others as easily has put stress on couples. In turn, many couples already likely to seek a divorce at some point came to understand that they couldn’t ignore the glaring problems in their relationships.

As the pandemic continues and many families are still forced to practice social distancing and other measures, there’s likely to be a continuing increase in divorces.

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