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The Pandemic and Divorces

Posted On: Feb 05, 2021  
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The Pandemic and Divorces

The pandemic has caused many problems across the state of Michigan – frankly COVID’s rain of terror isn’t confined only to Michigan, it continues to wreak havoc  across the whole world! Overnight, people were forced to quickly adapt and they had to make drastic changes in their day-to-day lives.  What was once a dining room transitioned into a fully-loaded work station with a computer, printer and scanner. What was once a living room turned into a mobile office. Face-to-Face meetings are now few-and-far between. Zoom has replaced a majority of in-person contact for almost everyone. Meetings are often met with interruptions from the beloved family dog that happened to see a squirrel outside and decided that a few loud and obnoxious barks won’t interrupt your Zoom call.  Pants became optional and more coffee became a must.

Spike in Divorces 

With on-going efforts to distribute the vaccine to many people, the long-lasting concerns surrounding COVID-19 continue to linger as a majority of the world continues in its efforts to tame what has proved to be such an unpredictable virus. But has the COVID-19 pandemic effected couples that once enjoyed a healthy and happy marriage and has it led to a higher divorce rate? if you guessed that it did, then you may be correct. A lot of family law practitioners predicted that the mandatory stay-at-home order that many states across the country issued across the nation would cause many problems for couples including a substantial spike in divorces that are filed. We won’t know for certain if the pandemic caused a spike in divorce cases until the Department of Health and Human Services releases their 2020 statistics. But we can look to other statistics to gauge whether there was a noticeable spike in divorces.

One study in the United Kingdom found a 122% increase in filings between July and October of 2020!  Experts predicted that the spike in divorce cases is caused by the stay-at-home orders, job lay offs, and concerns about financial security. Tensions reach an all time high which results in a formal divorce action being filed.

Factors that could contribute to an increase in the divorce rate

From a lawyer’s perspective, there are many factors that can cause a spike in divorces during the pandemic. Although there’s no scientific formula that would explain a spike in divorces, some experts have considered the following factors that may explain the spike:

  • Financial insecurity and concern
  • Concern about the future
  • Adapting to virtual schooling and playing teacher for a young child while juggling own struggles related to your new virtual office
  • Individual health concerns or concerns for loved ones that are vulnerable to COVID
  • Recent loss of a loved one due to COVID or another illness
  • Hospital restrictions that prevent and/or limit guests that are ill
  • Stay-at-home orders that keep couples in closed quarters for an extended  amount of time without much information on when the orders will be lifted
  • Since a lot of businesses remain closed and sporting events are limiting capacity, couples may not be able to do things for their usual date nights that would historically alleviate common pressures in marriage
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Anger management issues
  • Domestic violence

These are just some factors that could certainly drive a person to the brink of filing for divorce.

Divorces while the pandemic continues to surge 

So can the Court continue to processing  divorce actions even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic? If you answered yes again, then you’re right! Divorces are moving forward in ordinary fashion and a bulk of the hearings continue to be held on Zoom. The court (and friend of the court) are still hearing motions, issuing orders, conducting evidentiary hearings, and finalizing divorce cases. Some courts are even holding trials in divorce cases on Zoom!  Courts really didn’t have much choice because if they remained shut-down until the pandemic ended, then their docket would be unmanageable. There would be thousands upon thousands of divorce cases that are sitting there waiting to go through the motions. Thankfully that’s not the case here.

If you’re considering filing for a divorce, don’t let the pandemic stop you. Michigan Courts in Oakland County, Macomb County, and Wayne County are processing divorces every day and our office has really made the appropriate adjustments to prepare for all hearings even if they continue to be held via Zoom. Call today for your free consultation and speak to one of our highly experienced family law attorneys at (248) 456-8243.



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