Since COVID-19 struck the world in March 2020, families nationwide were forced to adapt to what was called “the new normal.” From virtual learning for students, to people being furloughed due to physical stores and businesses closing due to lockdowns, there’s the stress from having to juggle so many new changes, which might eventually lead to couples calling it quits. According to a January 2021 survey conducted by My Ex Back Coach, of the 2,429 respondents surveyed, only 11% said that COVID-19 had harmed their marriages.
So, how does COVID-19 affect one’s relationship to the point of divorce? Let’s find out by looking at a few aspects.
Relationships Strained During Pandemic
With families being told to stay at home (especially with school and work), there might be a rise in boredom, disagreements, etc. Such troubles can cause couples to lash out at each other, or to separate themselves from the group.
Impact On Finances
Yes, there have been many reports discussing how COVID-19 lockdowns have caused people to file for unemployment. As a result of job losses, there are severe reductions in income, much-needed medical care, and other necessary needs (i.e. groceries). Since there’s a need to keep the family financially afloat, this can lead to copious amounts of stress, which can potentially drive a wedge between two people.
Changes In Traditional Divorce Proceedings
If you and/or your spouse file for divorce, know that COVID-19’s restrictions will most likely impact the way that divorce proceedings are conducted. Many court systems have grown more lenient in allowing virtual sessions, provided that all participants are well-prepared on their end (i.e. good Internet connection, dressing for the occasion, etc.). Regardless, working with a qualified family law attorney is recommended.
Changes To Custody Schedulings
While court ordered custody schedules must still be followed, custody agreements will most likely be reexamined during this time. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
• If your child is attending school virtually, and you’re the primary caregiver who has to work most of the time while your ex-spouse doesn’t, you’ll need to figure out what custody arrangement is best for your child.
• If you live far from your ex-spouse, and share childcare on weekly or bi-weekly schedules, consider allowing longer periods of time with each parent to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
If necessary, talk with a child custody attorney to see what’s best for everyone involved.
Domestic Violence Grows Worse
The most concerning of COVID-19 and divorce is the issue of domestic violence. As of December 2020, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, 1 in 4 women, as well as 1 in 10 men, are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), especially during stay-at-home orders caused by the pandemic. Whether this is caused by financial stressors or mental issues rising from “the new normal,” the pandemic has undeniably made the home unsafe for certain people, that divorce is justifiable.
Now that there’s a clearer picture of COVID-19 and divorce, there should also be a silver lining. Whether couples reconcile, or learn to cope with divorce, only time will tell, even as COVID-19 slowly subsides.
Ashley Halsey is a writer and editor at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. She is also a contributing writer at Research papers UK. As a professional writer, she writes about the latest trends in marriage and counseling