Are Divorce Rates Declining in 2021?
According to divorce records, lawyers, and relationship coaches across the United States, divorce rates appear to be declining after surging briefly during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, why are divorce rates decreasing and are we going to continue to see this trend as 2021 continues? Today, we discuss the reasons why divorce rates spiked only to start decreasing towards the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.
Why Did Divorce Rates Increase During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- Lockdown exposed issues and provided couples with more time to reflect on them
- Spending more time together allowed couples to uncover more problems within their dynamic
- Additional strain was added to already strained relationships as the entire world locked down and couples were forced to spend a significant amount of time together
- Extramarital affairs
- Financial stress
- Disagreements about parenting (especially around vaccinating their children)
Additionally, as couples’ support systems were more difficult to access during this time, they were not able to vent to their friends and loved ones about their relationship issues. Instead, couples were forced to face their relationship issues head on, resulting in fights, and sometimes, the conclusion that a divorce is in their best interest.
While it is never easy to realize your marriage is not going to work out, it is a necessary but hopeful turn of events that two individuals will hopefully look back on as the steps they needed to take to build a healthy future.
Why Are Divorce Rates Going Down in 2021?
While New York State does not disclose its divorce records, the Superior Court in California tracks family law data across over 50 counties. In Los Angeles, CA, divorce filings are down 17.3 percent from 2020.
According to a report published by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), in October 2020, 4 other states saw a decline in divorce filings, which included Florida, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Missouri. It appears that divorce rates increased at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit in March 2020.
Additionally, according to VeryWellMind, an award-winning resource for reliable, compassionate, and up-to-date information on the mental health topics, around 27% of a pool of 1,200 of their readers stated that the pandemic strengthened their relationship. In fact, 46% said the pandemic did not change their relationship at all. For some couples, this marked a “second honeymoon phase” for them and brought them closer.
How to Plan for a Divorce During a Pandemic
While the world has begun to reopen after being in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still limitations in place. Some New York courts are open now; however, this is still a limited offering. Most are available via virtual hearings. As such, it is important to determine how to best navigate a divorce during this time. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Determine which divorce option is best for you
- Communicate effectively with your attorney and spouse when negotiating
- Review your living situation (it may not be appropriate to live together now that lockdown has lifted)
- Ask professionals for help (hire a therapist or financial advisor if needed)
- Prioritize your mental health
- Ask your divorce lawyer to help you with a divorce timeline
- Determine if you would like to go to court in person or have a virtual hearing conducted instead
For assistance with your divorce, contact our firm online or by calling us at (516) 406-8381.