When divorce rates drop you might think that a divorce lawyer would not be happy, but when marriages and families stay happy and intact, we can all rejoice. It is interesting though to look at the data and learn that as we entered this COVID-19 pandemic year or so there was a steep increase in divorce rates generally across the U.S.
A recent New York Times article introduces us to Ken Jewell, a New York divorce lawyer, who saw a 48% increase in consultations when the courts opened up again after the first three-month shut-down last March.
The common-sense explanation in the article suggests couples on shaky ground could more easily ignore dissatisfaction at home when they could escape to work and outside activities. When they are suddenly confined to their homes and each other’s close-quarter company the faults in frayed marriages jumped forward in contrast.
Up and Then Down Again
Now, 15 months later many families have adjusted to more together time and the adversity has strengthened bonds that were essentially good to begin with, even if they are pushed by stressors of the time and some financial uncertainty. Data in recent months shows that divorce rates are declining.
We can look at data collected by the Superior Court of California for a snapshot. Divorce filings are down 17.3 percent from the previous rolling year, as 12,750 people filed for divorce from March 2, 2020, to Feb. 26, 2021, compared to 15,222 who filed in Los Angeles the previous year.
More research conducted by Lee Wilson, a relationship expert in Nashville, Tenn., supports this observation of a rapid rise then dip in divorce rates over the past 15 months. A survey of several thousand married couples, ages 18 to 64, asked in April 2020 if the virus had done more harm than good to their relationships. A whopping 29.9% said that the virus had indeed done more harm to their marriages and were heading for divorce. However, when he surveyed again in February 2021, 17% of those questioned believed the pandemic had actually strengthened their relationship over a greater period of time.
Why are divorce rates relevant?
When all is done and said there will always be some relationships that head to divorce and others that don’t. Outside stressors and situational factors do make a difference in how we perceive the quality of our relationships. The rates are not relevant to you in your personal situation as you should always take the actions that you feel are best for you in your own situation.
As a collaborative divorce practice, we are here to help you find the best resolutions to your issues and problem solve in ways that protect relationships to the best extent possible so that loved ones, included co—parented children are nurtured and can thrive.
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