Marriages can be difficult during normal times, but the last year-plus has made it particularly difficult for some people. The increased time spent at home or out of work have led some to experience elevated financial stress, boredom, disagreements about parenting or helping the kids with school, and arguing about seemingly smaller domestic issues like household chores. Perhaps these were simmering issues that have finally boiled over to expose these issues as a serious problem. It can mean more fights, bickering with a mean edge, or the need to create space by isolating yourself. This can lead to the realization that the only way forward is by separate paths.
Did divorce rates rise?
It did not take long for divorce rates to rise. Despite the economic uncertainty of the times, researchers say that divorce rates went up 34% in April of 2020 over the previous year. These numbers were driven by newly married couples calling it quits – 20% of couples married five months or less filed for divorce, which is nearly double the 2019 rate for the same group.
Or did the rate go down?
Confusing the matter, other researchers looking at 2020 are seeing downturns in the divorce rates. The reasons given include the economic uncertainty of the times and that there were fewer new marriages, which can quickly fall apart once the couple settles in. These experts predict that there will be a pent-up demand to divorce as things return to a new normal where the couple is “less stuck” because they are working, the kids are back in school full-time, and they can see family and friends.
The disaster response curve
This latter way of thinking would seem to follow the collective disaster response curve. This model charts the phases that people go through after surviving a disaster. The steps include:
Different paths to the same conclusion
The details of each marriage’s unraveling will be different. Whether it happened amidst 2020 or in the fallout of the new normal, the stress may have been too much. Those considering divorce or planning to file during their reconstruction phase may want to start the planning process now.
Those here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area may find it helpful to work with an experienced, Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney practicing here in Texas. They can help clients navigate myriad issues as they move towards a new and better future.