When Americans first heard they were going to have to stop going into work and stay home, a lot of them were excited. Some of them embraced the opportunity to rest, relax, and spend more time with their families. But that wasn’t everyone. There was that group, and then other groups fell into one of the following four categories:
- Victims of family violence who were terrified of the idea of spending 24/7 with their abusers;
- Spouses whose marriages were already on the rocks and they dreaded spending every waking minute with their significant others;
- Formerly “happy” couples who learn they can’t stand their spouses when they spend too much time with them;
- Couples who are under so much stress from the pandemic that they begin fighting and break up because they can’t handle the pressure.
Across the country, divorce attorneys and relationship experts expect a wave of divorce filings after stay-at-home orders are lifted. Right now, a lot of courts are still closed for non-emergency cases, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. Even though many hearings are being conducted through Zoom, things are still moving a lot slower than usual. As soon as courts resume normal day-to-day options, divorce lawyers expect a mad rush to the courthouse.
"This is what we are hearing around the country," said Susan Myres, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "We are fielding calls right now from people who are tired of being in the same house with each other."
Divorce Spike Expected for 2020
As a divorce law firm, we expect to see a spike in divorce filings between June and December of 2020. Some of these divorces are happening sooner than they would have, while some of them never would have happened if it weren’t for COVID-19. But, the financial crisis has led to millions of job losses and financial hardship, both of which directly impact personal relationships and parenting. With the shelter-in-place orders and court shutdowns, they’ve forced family courts to only process cases in dire emergencies, forcing many couples to wait it out.
“COVID-19 will dramatically increase the need for the family court system, and the availability of solutions will be slower than usual. Attorneys and their parties will have to work with the court to prioritize cases based upon the urgency and severity of each situation. The bottom line? We will all need to exhibit patience, offer creative ideas, and be willing to make compromises,” according to bizjournals.com.