There seem to be differing reports on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the divorce rate. Some are reporting a decline while others say there has been an increase over the last year.
In the beginning of the pandemic the divorce rate seemed to be on the increase. Amongst other things, the main reason could be that these marriages were already troubled before lockdown hit and they were just more able to tolerate each other when they had access to other outlets.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has put a huge strain on many people in multiple aspects of life. Financial pressure, disruption of routines and limited socialising outside the home have affected us all, whether single or married.
However, as a couple it can be even more difficult to navigate these challenges. And sometimes it may seem like divorce will solve all the issues.
This may be true for some relationships that can be physically or mentally dangerous to either one of the partners. In these cases separation is a necessity and may be a life saver.
In fact, some countries have seen an increase in those seeking refuge at shelters for the homeless and abused – a sad reality of the consequences of being in a troubled relationship.
Working it out
Although there may have been a sudden increase in divorces early on in lockdown, the numbers seem to be decreasing the longer the situation has carried on.
Why could that be?
According to one survey, many couples have found that enduring through the initial difficulties the pandemic presented has paid off and resulted in their relationship becoming stronger. In these cases, having more time to do things together has had a positive, unifying effect.
Effective communication and willingness to compromise are key to a strong partnership, especially in trying circumstances, and this situation has given many an opportunity to work on these things.
As Charles Darwin said: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
To be willing to work it out and pausing before deciding whether or not to stay together – making the best of a situation that is by no means ideal – might turn out better in the end than you think.
But if this is not an option for you, what should you bear in mind during the divorce procedure?
Keeping it tidy
With the “self-service” approach that online divorce portals offer now, it can be tempting to go ahead with the divorce procedure on your own. While it does simplify things somewhat there is good reason to have a solicitor on your side when it comes to financial settlements involving assets, business interests or pensions and child maintenance payment.
Not formalising these things can lead to more trouble in the future as there is no time limit on financial claims – a claim for financial provision can still be pursued even after many years have passed since the divorce has gone through.
The Wyatt & Vince case in 2015 is a good reminder of the importance of getting a ‘clean break order’ as this will prevent further headaches and costs in the future.