When we think about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on society, our minds will naturally go first to the economy and intense financial challenges being faced by individuals, businesses and other organisations. But this is only a part of the story and the situation is actually having a serious effect on personal relationships.
Through the pandemic there has been a significant rise in the number of enquiries regarding divorce – some law firms have reported this rise being as high as 40%. And while many relationships have been unaffected, it seems that the pandemic is taking a toll on marriages which is just one of the many unforeseen consequences of this unprecedented situation.
Here we take a closer a look at how COVID-19 has been affecting marriages across the UK and what this could mean for the future.
Lockdown was the catalyst
Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest that it has not the pandemic that is causing the issues, but lockdown. The Citizens Advice website has recently revealed that it saw a rise in traffic of 25% over the period from April to September to its ‘getting a divorce’ page – although it had seen a slight dip in visits to that page just before lockdown.
This could indicate that it was the long period in which couples were confined to their homes without being allowed to see friends and family that was a major cause of this rise in interest in divorce. Changing circumstances can affect relationships negatively as well as positively. But it may not be this simple.
Many issues affect divorce
Of course, when we consider divorce there are actually many mitigating factors and aspects of life that affect relationships. COVID-19 certainly changed home life circumstances for many people, but it has also created challenges. Relationship problems can be exacerbated by stress and financial worries, and these are certainly things that have affected people from the perspective of the pandemic.
With redundancies, health worries and other challenges stacking up, perhaps it is no surprise that strain can be put on relationships.
All relationships are different, but even strong relationships can be burdened by things outside the realms of personal life. Small issues can develop into much more serious ones when couples are in each other’s company for a very long period of time – especially if you aren’t used to such a close relationship.
What to do if you are considering divorce
It is important to recognise that things do change quickly with the COVID-19 pandemic. No-one can be sure at the moment how the pandemic will play out, especially with regard to potential further lockdowns, or conversely new medical innovations such as vaccines. That means it is important to maintain perspective with regards to relationships.
Of course, it may be the case that some relationships are affected by the COVID-19 and these may be put beyond repair. In this case, it is advisable to work with experienced specialist divorce solicitors who can provide you with any advice and guidance you need, as well as managing negotiations between the two parties and handling all of the complex paperwork involved.
At George Ide, we have extensive experience dealing with divorce proceedings, including everything from collaborative family law through to mediation. If you would like to learn more about the range of services that we can provide, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our experienced and friendly team today.
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