Divorce Rates Drop as Pandemic Drags on
During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, divorce lawyers across the country saw an uptick in filings, with more couples feeling the strain of quarantine and deciding to call it quits. But year-to-year data shows that fewer people are filing for divorce in 2021 than in 2020, suggesting that one side effect of the pandemic is a decrease in dissolved marriages. Is the reduced divorce rate temporary or an indication of a more permanent cultural shift?
Relationship experts, cultural commentators and legal professionals have cited a number of factors that likely have contributed to the drop in divorces after the early-pandemic increase. One factor is that divorces can be expensive and time-consuming. Another is that divorce often requires a division of all marital property, and with market volatility for everything from real estate to stocks, coming up with fair valuations of assets can be difficult. Some couples who want a divorce are putting off officially dissolving their marriage until their environment feels more stable and the future feels more predictable.
The divorce rate decline may also be a reflection of the strength of relationships that people had when the pandemic began. In an April 2020 survey, nearly 30 percent of married couples responding said that the pandemic was driving them closer to divorce. Couples felt increased marital strain as lockdowns, homeschooling, work from home and social distancing went into place, leading them to want to get out of the marriage rather than spend an indefinite lockdown with their spouse.
Meanwhile, some couples grew closer together during the pandemic. After sticking it out for the first few months, they found themselves in a better place in their relationship a year after lockdowns began. In putting the world on pause, the pandemic afforded married couples the opportunity to focus more on what was and was not working in their marriage and to try to overcome challenges together.
Even if couples decide on divorce, engaging in healthy discussions can make them better prepared to come to agreement on important terms. Figuring out the difficult parts together can save time, money and stress. Collaborative divorce and mediation are appealing choices for divorcing couples who are able to communicate constructively but still have issues to resolve.
At the Long Island divorce and family law office of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. in Melville, New York, we aim to get our clients through to the other side of divorce thoughtfully, efficiently and with favorable outcomes for property division, alimony, custody and other matters. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.