Divorce & COVID-19: Is COVID Increasing the US Divorce Rate?

Early on, it was obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic would have long-reach (and lasting) effects on people worldwide. While certain ramifications of the virus, such as its economic impact, were evident immediately, others took longer to show up.

However, data suggests that COVID-19 may lead to a significant spike in the US divorce rate as we head into 2021. Today, we're exploring how (and why).

China & Divorce During COVID-19

One of the first indicators that COVID-19 could spike the divorce rate was how China, the first country hit by the pandemic, suffered from an increased divorce rate.

In cities like Xian and Dazhou, government employees reported record-high numbers of divorce filings, leading to situations where clerks couldn't even take breaks to drink water, and couples lined up outside the door of government offices to file for divorce.

Legal scholars speculated that there could be a few reasons for the increase in the divorce rate:

  • The virus impacted many people economically. One of the leading causes of divorce is money issues. COVID-19 has negatively impacted the financial stability of most countries, leaving couples more likely to file for divorce.
  • Couples fight more when they can't go out as easily. For many married individuals, the time they spend away from one another at home or with friends plays a key role in their relationships' stability. Now that people are spending time together without any options to go out or spend more time apart, fights are more common among married couples.
  • Committing infidelity is harder. Infidelity is one of the leading reasons for divorce among individuals. However, when neither party can leave the house, committing infidelity is harder. In marriages where infidelity was already an issue, easily discovered adulterous behavior could lead to the end of the relationship.

Will the Same Thing Happen in the US?

Perhaps. According to a recent study, legal separations in the US increased by 57% right after most states began implementing mandatory quarantines for citizens. Recently, data from legal contract website LegalTemplates indicated a 34% increase in the US divorce rate compared to 2019.

Additionally, the beginning of the year right after the holidays is one of the most popular times to file for a divorce in the US. If the US divorce rate continues to increase due to COVID-19, that may compound with an increased divorce rate post-holidays, resulting in a further-increased divorce rate.

At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we'll work with you to find the best path forward in your divorce.

Contact us online or via phone at (310) 455-8364 to schedule a consultation with our team.