Coronavirus: Will COVID-19 lead to increased divorces?

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SEATTLE — The number of couples filing for divorce in China is reportedly way up after long periods of COVID 19-related confinement.

The British Parliament was just warned to expect a spike in U.K. divorces too, blamed on coronavirus quarantines.

“My friends certainly have sent me memes of wow, the divorce rate is going to go up,” attorney Rick Jones, of Golberg Jones in Seattle, said Monday.

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However, Jones, who specializes in family law, told KIRO-TV he’s not seeing an uptick in divorce filings related to statewide stay-at-home orders. Yet.

“Even in families that work well together, there are roles to play, and those roles include one or both of the parents getting up and going to work, or the child being in school,” Jones said during an interview from his office. “So to all of a sudden have these roles massively changed in a time that we’re all feeling incredibly stretched emotionally is definitely a stressor."

Jones expects marriages may fracture weeks and months from now because the coronavirus crisis is causing many couples to experience job loss. “Financial stress is always one of the big stressors that lead to divorce,” he said. “Trying to figure out how you can support an entire family, a spouse, and however many children you have, and that creates a level of stress.”

Even though Jones’ practice has not seen an increase in divorce filings so far, his office has received a large number of coronavirus-related calls in recent weeks, including questions about “Is my parenting plan still enforceable? Can she or can he withhold the children? Can we even by agreement deviate from this parenting plan, for all the right reasons, if in fact someone has tested positive?” Jones explained.

Psychology Today published ways to help prevent divorce for families working and staying at home.

Jones echoes one of those: be kind.

“You might not expect this from a divorce attorney, but I would say tough it out. Understand that you’re stretched. Everyone is. So be kind to each other.”

Psychology Today published ways to help prevent divorce for families working and staying at home. (File photo via Pixabay.com)
Psychology Today published ways to help prevent divorce for families working and staying at home. (File photo via Pixabay.com) (File photo via Pixabay.com)