The coronavirus and resulting lockdowns may lead to a rise in the number of divorce cases in the United States as couples must adjust to living together without a break for weeks on end. In China, COVID-19 lockdowns have already led to increased divorce numbers, and the British Parliament is experiencing the same thing. As states start to slowly open across the United States, similar reports are likely to come to light.
The Emotional Toll of Quarantine Hurts Marriages
In most families, the roles of the family are clearly defined. Children go to school, at least one parent goes to work, and the parents divide household tasks in a way that works for the family. During quarantine, those roles are lost. Children are at home, and parents are also. This means spending 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, in one another’s company. Even in non-COVID-19 situations where parents are often home, there is an option to leave and get a break. During these lockdowns, those options are limited, and this may cause a spike in couples prepping for divorce.
This confinement and lack of a “break” from one another causes emotions to run high. Add to it the stress of the situation, and the toll this situation takes on marriage is a tough one.
Divorce lawyers already see increases in divorces after times when families spend unusual amounts of time together, such as Christmas or summer holidays. This extended lockdown is expected to have the same effect. Families can protect themselves by remembering this is a stressful, but temporary, situation, and they should strive to be kind.
Financial Challenges of Quarantine Add to the Problem
Many companies have been forced to temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus and state-issued mandates to shelter at home. This has led to job losses and temporary or permanent layoffs in many parts of the state. So, on top of the emotional challenges of quarantine, the COVID-19 crisis has caused many financial burdens.
When one or more parent cannot work, and unemployment benefits are slow to come, families are left without income, causing even more stress. Financial struggles are one of the top causes of divorce, and this crisis has caused a large number of financial concerns. While these financial stresses should be temporary, the effect is intense, and it may contribute to even more problems with divorce.