Did COVID-19 Increase the U.S. Divorce Rate? An Exploration

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, legal experts the world over hypothesized the pandemic would cause the divorce rate to boom in 2020, partially inspired by stories of government offices in China overflowing with divorce requests after the pandemic first hit. But did those predictions actually pan out? Today, that's what we aim to find out.

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Why Did People Assume the Divorce Rate Would Increase?

Legal experts assumed the divorce rate would increase for a wide range of reasons:

  • Money problems. Money issues are a notorious divorce starter, and tens of millions of people across the U.S. lost their jobs in 2020. As a result, many hypothesized that the stress from lost jobs could increase the divorce rate.
  • Isolation. Frequently, couples rely on time apart to stabilize their marriage. As we all know, isolation was a characteristic part of 2020 - many of us spent a lot of time cooped up indoors. That much time together could be a stressor for many couples.
  • Domestic violence. UN women called domestic violence a "shadow pandemic" in 2020, and some predicted that survivors/victims of domestic violence filing for divorce could increase the divorce rate.

Did the Divorce Rate Increase?

Surprisingly, according to data acquired by the Institute for Family Studies, the divorce rate actually appears to have gone down in 2020.

The researchers spectate that some of the reasons legal experts initially predicted an increase in the divorce rate - such as couples spending more time together or suffering through hardships together - may have actually helped many people slow down and strengthen their bonds with each other. It's certainly a happy outcome, if an unexpected one.

If you're interested in filing for divorce, we can help. Contact our office online or via phone at (845) 203-0997 to speak with one of our veteran divorce attorneys.

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