What's On

  • Written by Nina Jackson


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes to the world. Much has been written about the so-called new normal, which affects virtually all parts of the world. Unemployment has been steadily on the rise ever since businesses have been forced to close because of the shutdown.

Health supplies are also often in short supply, again directly attributed to the pandemic. However, one unexpected outcome of the global turmoil is the rise of divorce cases in its wake. How come there are so many post-pandemic divorces?

The statistics for the exact number of post-pandemic divorces aren’t out yet. But judging from the reports, there will definitely be a spike in legal separations as soon as restrictions are lifted. An early barometer for this is China -- where the origin of the virus is located.

Chinese authorities and law firms have reported an increase in divorce cases after the restrictions were lifted. Across the United States, legal experts are also predicting the same thing. Here are some reasons which could pinpoint why there are so many post-pandemic divorces.

Living Together Can Feel Like Jail

The reality is that for some couples, being forced to spend time together in a small enclosed space can feel like jail. The most common solution to the global crisis was to shut down non-essential businesses and require people to stay indoors. For many couples, this meant sharing space with a spouse they already can’t stand, or worse, is physically abusive.

During the peak of the crisis, more domestic cases were reported compared to the pre-pandemic. Experts attributed this to domestic abused victims having nowhere to run with the regulations in place. Forcing them to share a home also meant that victims were more prone to abuse. Many abused spouses became keener to seek out help and leave their abusive partners as soon as possible.

Weaker Relationships Fail

Even if you and your spouse are not physically abusive together, if you have an already strained relationship, there’s a big chance that the quarantine was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. For most struggling couples, the connection is maintained by neutral interactions. It means limiting contact with each other and minding each other’s businesses. Before the pandemic, struggling couples had the option of going out, seeing friends, or playing sports when things were bad at home. This scenario allowed tensions to diffuse and gave spouses an opportunity to have more neutral interactions.

The requirement of staying at home during the quarantine removed this option. Spouses who were already hostile to each other are now finding each other insufferable. There was also no outlet to let go of the anger, as most outside activities were prohibited during the lockdown. Already weak relationships faltered under the stress and strain of quarantine. In a way, the pandemic really tested the association of married partners. Only the strongest of couples could withstand to share a limited space for such a long time.

Problem of Laws

The definition of separation can vary from state to state. In some states, you can be considered divorced even if you are living separately in the same roof. In other countries, you cannot be deemed to be separated if you live on the same roof. The easing of restriction could bring in a wave of couples who decided to divorce during the quarantine period but were unable to act on it.

There is also the fact that most legal and judicial services were suspended during the quarantine period. Instead of the number of couples divorcing being spread out during a period of weeks, the count was concentrated until couples could act on it once the courts opened. Most law firms shut down services during the lockdown or at least reduce their capacity, so people are now only coming to them for divorce proceedings once the restrictions are opened up.

Conclusion

Divorce is never an easy process, it can be long, and it becomes even more stressful when it’s in the middle of a pandemic. Stressful environments tend to exacerbate already-existing problems in a marriage. Couples who are unable to cope tend to divorce and start anew. Whatever the reasons may be, the ultimate purpose is to get another chance at happiness and fulfillment.

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