By Janice Berner, MBA, CPA*, CDFA, CLTC
Manchester Union Leader - You might be surprised to learn that before COVID-19, America’s divorce rate was falling. In fact, per 1,000 women, the divorce rate declined from 9.7 divorces in 2009 to 7.6 divorces in 2019.[i]
Early on, pundits predicted a surging divorce rate from quarantine stresses. However, the available evidence is scarce and somewhat contradictory because it’s impossible to draw immediate conclusions.
Because court systems across the country were closed to in-person hearings and filings during the height of the pandemic, individuals seeking divorce encountered roadblocks in regard to divorce, custody, visitation and child support.[ii]
The pandemic amplified the most common sources of marital troubles: financial stress from unemployment, boredom, disagreements about parenting, home schooling and household chores.
Unemployment skyrocketed, increasing a record 10.3% in April 2020 to 14.7 percent.[iii] Schools closed to in-person instruction, leaving parents to supervise remote learning. As restaurants, movie theaters, and more closed, couples were forced together 24/7.
This situation tends to create three outcomes for couples contemplating pandemic divorce:
COVID Lessons Learned
There are potentially several positive outcomes of the pandemic for marriage and divorce:
Regardless of the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on marriage, many have gained additional resilience and perspective on life, regardless of whether individual marriages last or not.
Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. www.sipc.org. 200 Clarendon Street, 19th & 25th Floors, Boston, MA 02116. 617-585-4500. CRN202406-307171
*Licensed, not practicing on behalf of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company or MML Investors Services, LLC
[i] “U.S. Marriage and Divorce Rates Declined in the Last 10 Years,” U.S. Census Bureau, Dec. 7, 2020, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/12/united-states-marriage-and-divorce-rates-declined-last-10-years.html[ii] “COVID-19 State-by-State Guide to Family Court and Custody Orders,” Fox Rothschild LLP, April 7, 2020, https://www.foxrothschild.com/publications/covid-19-state-by-state-guide-to-family-court-and-custody-orders/[iii] “Unemployment rate rises to record high 14.7 percent in April 2020,” US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 13, 2020, https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/unemployment-rate-rises-to-record-high-14-point-7-percent-in-april-2020.htm[iv] “COVID-19 Impacts on Marriage and Divorce,” Impakter.com, March 25, 2021, https://impakter.com/covid-19-impacts-on-marriage-and-divorce/[v] “What does financial wellness look like after COVID?” Voya, July 15, 2020, https://voyainsights.voya.com/insights/what-does-financial-wellness-look-after-covid-nc