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Divorce and COVID-19

With the global pandemic forcing many families into lockdown together, couples may be spending more time than usual with one another. Although being in the presence of loved ones may sound exciting and comforting, numerous reports have shown that many couples are not coping well with the sudden change and divorce is on the agenda!

Prior to the rise of COVID-19, many working couples happily resided together albeit with limited time to engage with each other. Further, when time increased in the holiday season the happiness continued with most people spending additional time with their families. The festivities and joyfulness of these events meant that people were not typically confronted with the realities and hardships of life.

With schools and workplaces shutting down to limit the number of COVID-19 cases, couples that once were apart for an average of 8 hours to 10 hours a day are now pressured to stay indoors, frequently engage with each and quickly adjust to effectively managing their homes and routines together.

According to a study by Relationships Australia, this extra time spent with their romantic partner has caused 42 percent of people to experience an adverse change in their relationship. For some relationships, there may also be built-up resentment which was previously masked by keeping busy through paid employment and time spent apart but has now become extremely visible.

These changes have caused an increase in separation and divorce rates around the world. Since the beginning of the pandemic and in Australia, the number of divorces have yet to peak as a prerequisite for divorce is to be separated for a minimum of 12 months.

Family

For working couples with children, the effects of the pandemic have been even more exhausting. In May 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that women were twice as likely as men to have spent 20 or more hours a week on unpaid care and supervision of children.

The work-life balance has never been so muddled as mothers are expected to spend the day caring and homeschooling their children whilst trying to maintain their careers by staying up late to complete their work. In October 2020, the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency found that women were more like to cite their reason for unemployment as being due to the pandemic and their caring responsibilities compared to men who reported being unemployed for other reasons.

However, separation may not be currently feasible for some couples who are experiencing conflicts in their relationship. The pandemic has seen the rise in unemployment rates, meaning one or both of the individuals in the relationship may have lost their sole source of income. It is in times of economic pressure where people may delay separating because there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding their financial future in purchasing or renting a new home or how they would financially care for their children. Further, separated couples may find themselves suffering emotionally and psychologically as they are physically trapped together due to their monetary matters creating the need for them to either separate under one roof and in some circumstances remain in one bed.

We understand that the pandemic may have triggered great emotional and psychological strain on your relationships. If you require any advice on the best avenues to separate with your partner and/or in relation to the care of your children, please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 9412 4500 for a free 15 minute consultation today with our Accredited Family Law Specialists at Chatswood Family Lawyers.