Over the past few months, California officials have issued, modified and loosened a stay at home order, due to the current health crisis. During this time, you and your spouse’s working arrangements have likely changed – whether temporarily or permanently. If you are both working from home, spending hours together each day might have exacerbated your existing marital problems. Or, your new arrangement might have exposed you to a side of your spouse that you had not seen before. In either case, you may want out of your marriage, though it may seem counterintuitive to file for divorce during the current crisis. But you are not alone in wanting to or doing so.
Divorce by the numbers
The effects of staying at home had an almost instantaneous impact on marriages. Between March 2020 and June 2020, the interest in divorces was 34% higher than during the same period the previous year. Newlyweds were among the most likely to seek a divorce, with couples married five months or less representing 20% of the divorces filed during this period.
Why staying at home can lead to divorce
Before the current crisis, you and your spouse might have interacted with each other twice during the day – at morning and at night. If you two barely saw each other, you may have had an easy time sweeping your problems under the rug. Now, you both may be working from home and are spending all day together. Without space and time away from each other, what seemed like trifling issues may have become problems you cannot live with anymore.
Furthermore, you and your spouse may have school-aged children. If you do, it is likely that they are distance-learning right now. Balancing their school activities with work is difficult, and you two may disagree about how you will handle and share these duties. If you remain miles apart on parenting and education matters, even after discussion, your marriage may have difficulty surviving.
Your spouse may also have a temper and your new arrangement may subject you to physical, verbal or emotional abuse. Unfortunately, incidents of domestic violence have increased sharply this year, and this rise correlates with more people staying at home. If you are experiencing abuse in any form, you will want to find a safe living arrangement immediately and file for divorce.
Filing for divorce during the current crisis
You may worry that if you file for divorce soon, your case could take longer to finalize than in normal circumstances. Yet, many courts are now conducting hearings over Zoom. If you and your spouse can take part in these virtual hearings, they could quicken your divorce. You and your spouse could also speed up your divorce if you are parting on amicable terms and plan on mediating it.
If you plan on filing for divorce soon, know that you can do so in a safe and timely manner. A family law attorney can help you find a way to begin proceedings in a manner that reflects the current crisis and your current situation.