For most of us, 2020 was a year unlike any other. The upheaval we experienced here in Staten Island and worldwide touched virtually every aspect of human life, from the economy to politics to our personal lives.
From a family law perspective, the pandemic seems to have had an unusual effect on the American divorce record. While New York State seals its divorce records, many attorneys say that few married couples are getting divorced these days. Across the country in Los Angeles, there were 12,750 people who filed for divorce between March 2, 2020, and Feb. 26. In the prior year, 15,222 people filed for divorce.
Trying to explain the trend
Observers say that there was a surge in divorce filings in the early months of the pandemic, then the number of filings plummeted. They believe that the early upward trend was propelled by people in unhappy marriages who used to tolerate the situation by spending time away from their spouses. Once people had to start working from home and socializing outside the home became impossible, they suddenly had to spend nearly 24 hours a day with their spouse. That motivated a lot of people to begin the divorce process.
Once those divorce cases were underway, the filing rate went down. This is not to say that every married person in the U.S. was happy. Those thinking about divorce are likely waiting for vaccinations to become available to get started. In other cases, the change in daily life might have brought spouses closer together, giving them time to work through the problems in their relationships.
Things should change soon
As courthouses reopen and people begin feeling comfortable visiting an attorney’s office again, divorce filings will probably rise. A conversation with a divorce attorney now, virtually or in person, can help you get the ball rolling.