Lockdown is affecting our lives in all sorts of ways — from our work lives to our marriages. Some may be expecting a baby boom around Christmas time, and some, divorce. Being stuck indoors all day with your spouse will likely put a strain on even the strongest of marriages. As a society, we’re not used to being cooped up with the same people day in day out for an indefinite period of time, which can certainly bring out the worst in relationships.

According to news reports, law firms are bracing for an increase in divorce rates during lockdown, as working from home, being furloughed, and financial strain takes a toll on married couples. The same is being reported in other countries such as Australia and China, with a month-long waiting list in Shanghai in February.

Here, we’ll take a look at Google search trends for divorce and what you can do to help your marriage survive during lockdown.

Can people get divorced in lockdown?

Google search trends can be a window into the what’s going on in the public, what are people looking for, what’s on their mind? Google searches for ‘how to get divorced’ shot up to an interest rate of 100 on 28th March, the highest search interest score possible — almost a week after lockdown was implemented.

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Similarly, searches for ‘divorce’ have been fluctuating over the last few weeks, with a steady incline from 23rd March and a spike to 100 on 7th April.

But does this mean divorce is on the rise? Law firms in the capital have reported receiving a spike of calls enquiring about divorce law in London, with many callers being unhappy at home. Firms are expecting to see a boom over the coming months.

Although courts and lawyers’ offices are closed, divorces are being carried out on Zoom recently — a different take from work meetings and group video calls with friends. For those who were already in the process of divorce, it’s working well, with claims that Zoom removes the tension and emotion of dissolving a marriage while the lawyers argue terms.

Additionally, for those looking to start divorce proceedings, some law firms are providing ‘discreet’ divorce advice, offering advice sessions via WhatsApp and how to wipe the messages to keep it secret from your partner until you’re ready to go ahead.[LD1] 

In it for the long run

For some couples, divorce is the only logical next step. However, it’s important to remember that lockdown isn’t forever, so we’ll look at ways to help your marriage and cope with the crisis, rather than calling quits. At the end, we will discuss if you cannot remedy your marriage and if divorce is the right option for you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Firstly, and most importantly, set house rules. Don’t be embarrassed and think it is unnatural to set house rules, lockdown is unnatural for a marriage to work. Without going off to work for the day and having friends to see, it’s important that you keep your own space and boundaries. And we don’t just mean going for your daily exercise to cool down after things finally got too much and you had an explosive argument. This is about endurance — throughout the day, establish who is where. If you’re working from home, have your own workspace in a separate room if possible, and leave each other alone, as if you were at work.

Relationship expert and TED speaker Carol Bruess suggests that having a dedicated piece of clothing, like a sweatshirt, and wearing it when you want to be invisible can be helpful. Here, you’re portraying that you don’t want to be spoken to or looked at without verbally asking for it.

If your partner feels like their space is being invaded, respect their feelings rather than argue. Likewise if your space is being invaded, you should communicate how you feel so they are aware. Don’t allow tension to build, communication is key, so be mindful of each other.

Spend evenings together

Eat dinner together, watch Netflix together, whatever you do on a normal evening. Try not to avoid each other altogether, unless if it’s going to cause an argument or if you’d like your space for the night. This is especially important if you have children in the house — you need to keep things normal for them, they’re in lockdown too!

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Source: Shutterstock, by fizkes.

Keep a routine

If you’re on furlough, we’re well aware of how easy it is to slip into a lethargic and sluggish routine. But lazing in bed all morning can be alienating to your partner. Get out of bed at a good time, shower, put some clothes on. Yes, you’re allowed to relax and not do anything if you’re not up to it, but consistently lacking a routine and staying in bed day in, day out, is sure to cause arguments.

When the complaints keep coming…

Create a complaint box and put complaints in every day. At the weekend, go over and discuss them when you’ve got a clearer head so you can talk about things that matter to you both amicably without continually grinding each other down and nit picking at everything. This can help you and your partner understand and be more empathetic to how you’re feeling.

So, there we have some tips to managing your marriage in a highly unusual and difficult time. When you feel like you’ve exhausted all steps and you can’t go on in the marriage anymore, then please seek legal advice.



 [LD1]Can client provide if WS are doing anything like this?