Data Shows Filings Up More Than a Third Since March
The Covid-19 pandemic has produced widespread consequences for America, contributing to or causing the deaths of more than 210,000 people, leaving 30 million people on unemployment, and leading to the closure of over 100,000 small businesses. New data now shows another significant impact of the coronavirus crisis—a 34% increase in divorce filings between March and June, compared to the same time period in 2019. The report, published by Legal Templates, found that couples married less than five years are now nearly twice as likely to end up in divorce proceedings as they were last year (20% in 2020 vs. 11% in 2019). States along the so-called “Bible Belt” in the American South had some of the highest divorce rates.
What’s Causing the Increase in Divorce Filings?
Family counselors and matrimonial professionals say there are many elements of the pandemic that are likely contributing to the rise in marital breakdowns:
- Economic insecurity — Even in the best of times, money woes are a leading factor in the decision to file for divorce. Couples are seeing one or both parties laid off, with unemployment benefits an insufficient replacement for lost income. The stress that comes with financial insecurity can drive a wedge between spouses.
- Lack of an escape mechanism — Marriage counselors say that many couples, even those who don’t feel any marital strife, establish a routine that allows a comfortable division between personal time and family time. In fact, professionals believe a key component of a healthy relationship is the ability of partners to each be happy on their own and not spend all their time together. Furthermore, many tenuous relationships last because the parties are able to be together for essential things while living separate lives most of the time through work or other activities. The pandemic has taken much of that away. With job losses and the move toward telecommuting brought on by the coronavirus, many spouses find themselves spending a lot more time together, leading to anxiety, frustration, and claustrophobia.
- Societal strain — Experts also say that relationships are affected by external factors, including fears about contracting the virus; the deaths of others; the need to homeschool children; the inability to visit loved ones in hospitals, nursing homes, or other countries; the inability to travel widely; and the vigilance many feel must be constantly maintained. Any one of those factors by itself might not have a meaningful impact on a relationship, but cumulatively, they can be devastating.
- A sense of fatalism — Mental health professionals believe the pandemic and its consequences are contributing to a widespread sense of fatalism or impending doom. Many people are developing an enhanced sense of the precariousness of life, leading to bold or rash decisions based on the feeling that life is fragile and could end any day. It’s typically characterized this way: “The virus could hit me at any time. I might as well seek to maximize my happiness in the potentially limited time I have left. I could be happier with another partner. I might as well file for divorce and pursue that happiness.”
If your marriage can’t be saved, don’t try to handle a divorce proceeding on your own. The process can be document-intensive, and you can easily run into a number of roadblocks. With an experienced divorce attorney, you can protect your rights and the interests of your family.
Contact the Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call ua at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.