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Love and Divorce in the Time of Corona

Spending time together can be one of the best parts of a good marriage. Unfortunately, if a relationship is doing poorly, spending too much time together can actually make things work. That’s what many people in Japan and China have found over the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns. One Shanghai lawyer reported that he’d seen a 25% increase just in March, and it doesn’t look like the rate is slowing down.

Quarantine is a uniquely stressful situation. Couples are facing an unprecedented global event that has put the world’s future in a state of flux. That stress, combined with the actual act of quarantining themselves, can push relationships off the rails. But why is quarantine itself such a stressful scenario

Lack of Space in quarantine

Most couples are used to having time apart. They work in different locations, they have different friends and hobbies, and they have places they can go outside of the home. Quarantine has taken most of those options away.

Instead of leaving the home to go to work, many people are working from their kitchen table. Kids aren’t going to school, so the couple has to juggling parenting and work at the same time. If an argument breaks out, there’s nowhere to go but the next room over. It can start to get claustrophobic quickly.

It’s more than just the stress of being stuck in one place. Some couples are finally spending time together for the first time in a while, and they’re finding that they’ve grown apart. The person they’re with now is no longer the person that they married. That’s a painful realization even when the world isn’t in crisis.

However, tourism dependency is not the only factor that has contributed to the debt crisis in this region of the world. Many Caribbean nations are small in comparison to other global economies and may lack many natural resources. This may make their exports undiversified and subject to external economic factors. Additionally, the Caribbean is one of the most areas that is most susceptible to disasters, such as hurricanes.

Some Caribbean countries had government debts that exceeded 100% of their gross domestic product – even before the current crisis. This debt was largely built up gradually over time until its now nearly insurmountable levels. Some countries have been hit by the global financial crisis around 2006 and others struggle with a stagnant financial services industry. A lack of fiscal discipline may also be to blame for this mounting debt as deficits were allowed to widen year after year.

While the Caribbean’s debt has been restructured three times since the 1980s, the latest crisis may cripple these countries.

Lack of Support Systems

Being stuck inside has also cut many people off from their support systems. Without going to work, it’s hard to vent about things to coworkers. Under lockdowns, getting together with friends is not allowed. Even family members are difficult to access for many. These support systems help many couples keep their relationship on an even keel. Without them, some marital problems are difficult or impossible to solve.

Lack of Financial Stability

More than 33 million new people filed for unemployment in the US since the end of March. That’s a lot of jobs lost. A single stimulus check is nowhere near enough to make up for the lack of financial stability for most couples. Financial stress has been the leading cause of divorce since long before COVID-19 came around. Losing a job is one of the most common stressors that can break up a marriage. Since many people have no idea when they’ll next be able to work, the pandemic has only made this stressor worse.

What’s the Next Step?

Going through a divorce during a pandemic is doubly difficult. The problem is that putting things off will just make the situation worse. Many people have questions: “How can I find a new place to stay during lockdown?” “How will I afford to live on my own with all the closures?” “How can I afford to get the divorce without a job?”

These are all understandable worries. Financial stress impacts divorce even during times of global stability. However, if you’re in a bad situation, waiting just causes you to suffer longer. Family and friends are still there for you – reach out to them if you need to.

You should also reach out to a qualified attorney sooner rather than later. If you have legal questions, they are your best source of information. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you work out the details of the whole process. They can also point you in the direction of additional resources if you need them.

No one gets married hoping to get divorced one day. Once a marriage has fallen apart, though, a divorce can become a much-anticipated event. If the coronavirus pandemic has helped you see the flaws in your own relationship, you deserve better. Don’t let financial worries or insecurities keep you in a bad situation. Make a plan and get out – the rest will come with time.