At the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak, many experts predicted a sharp increase in divorce rates. While this prediction was not without basis, it took some time to become a significant trend as many couples decided to stick together during times of extreme uncertainty, often out of practical concerns. However, with the vaccine rollouts happening in full swing and states opening up for all types of activities, a serious spike in divorce cases seems to be playing out across all demographics. The role played by the pandemic in this is as intriguing as it is complex.
Young Couples Were Hit the Hardest
Some surveys from 2020 indicate that close to 60% of couples seeking a divorce amid the pandemic were relatively younger couples that got married within the last 5 years. All relationships take time to settle and strengthen familial bonds. The pandemic is probably the first major challenge in life, unprecedented in its sheer scale, for many of the newlyweds.
Cabin Fever Can Take a Toll on Anyone
January is usually considered the peak divorce month in the Northern Hemisphere due to the effect winters can have on couples spending more time together indoors. With the pandemic-triggered quarantines and lockdowns, a similar cabin fever trend played out all through the year, with a potentially adverse impact on the fate of many marriages.
Financial Troubles also Played a Part
With millions laid off or furloughed since 2020, the economic reality of the pandemic also played a role in the growing number of divorce applications. Financial strain is a potent catalyst for toxicity in a marriage. Stress levels, fights, and even physical abuse are likely to increase in times of financial difficulty due to pent-up frustration related to a career, business or investments.
Some Break-Ups Got Accelerated in the Pandemic
Even before the pandemic, there would have been many relationships slowly headed towards a breakdown due to myriad reasons. Infidelity, boredom, emotional incompatibility, financial issues – the list of conflicts is quite long indeed. The extra stress imposed by the pandemic has likely played the role of a trigger in such marriages. It accelerated the divorces which were probably going to happen anyway later down the line due to hidden fault lines.
Couples with Kids are More Vulnerable
In many families, kids become the binding force for couples who otherwise might consider divorce. But even this traditional bulwark has been weakened because of the pressures exerted by the pandemic. In 2020, there was a five percent jump in the number of couples seeking divorce who had young kids (under 18). Out of all the divorced couples last year, at least 45 percent had children.
Divorce Mediation is More Relevant than Ever in a Post-Pandemic World
The devastation caused by the pandemic has demonstrated that a messy, long-drawn-out court fight does not help anyone involved in a divorce. This is especially true if children are part of the split. With so much instability and uncertainty around, it is best if divorcing couples can pick up the pieces and move on with their lives with minimal conflict.
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