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Divorce Rates Spike Amidst COVID-19

For better or for worse, until death do us part.

Well, maybe not in 2020.

The wedding vows so many couples believed wholeheartedly on their wedding day have crumbled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to research done by Legal Templates, divorce rates in the US have increased by 34 percent over the months from April-June when compared to the same time period in 2019.

Everyone who has lived through 2020 thus far can understand why. Unemployment rates have soared, putting couples and families under increased financial strain; parents have been forced to work from home while trying to homeschool their kids; avenues for entertainment and recreation were closed for months; combine all of that with the general stress of an uncertain future? It’s the perfect storm for married couples to struggle.

April 13 saw the largest increase in couples seeking divorces, up 57 percent from 2019. This was only three weeks into quarantine in most states, and experts refer to this time period as the “reality hits” phase. It’s when discouragement peaks and optimism for the future is gone.

This could be why newlywed couples were hit the hardest. With less time to build resilience in adversity, couples married for less than 5 months nearly doubled their rates of divorce compared with last year. Among couples married since 2015, studies found that for each additional year the couple was married, their rates of divorce decreased between one and ten percent.

Most people are used to one or both partners leaving for work for 40 or more hours a week and thrive with a little bit of time away. Staying home for weeks on end, even (and sometimes especially) with the people we love most is extremely difficult. It definitely bursts the honeymoon bubble.

It is also worthwhile to note that it isn’t just the close quarters for an extended amount of time that causes issues. The loss of face to face connection with anyone but the people with whom we live is taxing. Polls taken during the second month of quarantine showed the majority of Americans were suffering quarantine fatigue, felt the restrictions were too heavy and tensions were high.

It’s no secret that we tend to take out our stress and frustrations on the people we love. Many people also experienced severe stress with the huge number of layoffs seen nationwide. In Southern states, 50 percent of the workforce is employed in what are considered “high-risk of layoff” occupations. As a result, couples living in the southern states were 2-3x more likely to seek divorce than couples in other US regions.

For that same reason, couples with young children have seen an increase in divorce rates as well. Usually, couples with children under 18 are less likely to divorce, but the close-quarters, remote-learning and financial stress for parents over the last few months has changed that.

Divorce is usually the last resort for couples who have exhausted all of their resources already and don’t need any more hoops to jump through. Here at New Mexico Financial and Family Law, we pride ourselves on helping our clients restructure their lives.

Quarantine and this global pandemic have wreaked enough havoc on our lives without a messy divorce on top of everything else. We know we are meeting good people at their worst times, and it is our privilege and unique challenge to help those good people get back on track. Our team of compassionate and driven legal advocates will deliver the help that you need.

We handle a wide range of family law practices including, but not limited to divorcechild custody and child visitation, & pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Call us at 505-336-2129 to schedule a consultation.

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