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2020 Led to Your Divorce

Has the Stress of 2020 Led to Your Divorce?

patrickcrawford | November 4, 2020
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Being in a loving, stable marriage can provide considerable comfort and support during times of stress. When that stress is relentless and combined with a global pandemic, even the strongest marriages can suffer. The fallout of 2020 is expected to include a serious uptick in the national divorce rate.   

 

This may not come as a big surprise, but the pandemonium caused by the pandemic and other events of 2020 has already caused a surge in the number of couples who divorce. We’ve all been stuck at home in one capacity or another for a while now – with no definitive end in sight – and it’s nothing if not stressful. Stress has a way of creeping into relationships, and the extreme stress associated with the global pandemic we find ourselves in has led to some extreme consequences, including divorce. If you’ve come to the very difficult decision that a divorce is right for you, it’s time to consult with an experienced Annapolis divorce attorney. 

The Stress of the Matter

It’s difficult to adequately calculate the amount of stress we’re all under, which is compounded by all the uncertainty and anxiety involved in living through a pandemic. Consider all of the following:

 

  • Many people are either out of work, have been furloughed indefinitely, have returned to work only part-time, have taken a pay decrease, or are working from home (with their children in tow). The inherent stress of each scenario is immense. Simply working from home (even without a pay decrease) can easily bend your work/life balance into something unrecognizable, for example.
  • Many children are attending school online, which is a difficult transition and requires far more involvement on the part of the parents. Other children have a hybrid school experience – attending classes both online and in the classroom – and if this best of both worlds scenario doesn’t make your head spin, nothing will. Still other children are attending school in the classroom full-time (business as usual). While this isn’t much of a transition, the parents of these children must live with the fear and uncertainty associated with their children’s potential exposure to COVID-19. Most parents (and children alike) appreciate the structure that attending school on a regular basis provides, and having this structural support ripped unceremoniously from their lives hasn’t been easy.
  • Very few couples haven’t experienced a financial hit of one kind or another during the pandemic’s pendency, and financial woes are traditionally very closely associated with high divorce rates. Those parents who have returned to the work world are facing the additional expense of paying for daycare while their children attend online school. Further, those parents whose kids are attending school in the classroom are faced with the very real possibility that the situation could change at any time – without a moment’s notice. If we’ve learned nothing else in 2020, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. 
  • Children look to their parents to keep them safe from harm, and they easily pick up on their parents’ stress. This helps ensure that the level of stress in your home continues to escalate. 

 

These are simply the most obvious forms of stress that every household (with children) faces, the list could go on and on.

A House Divided

An unusual component of the COVID-19 pandemic is the divided stance that many people take on the matter. Well-regarded national and global resources assure us that we should be social distancing by keeping at least six feet between ourselves and others who don’t live in our household, wearing masks when out in public, washing our hands frequently and thoroughly, and by gathering only in small groups (while maintaining these safety practices) – preferably outdoors. This is all excellent advice that should be followed scrupulously.

 

Unfortunately, however, the immense shock of the pandemic leaves some people unable to cope with this new reality, and they choose to go their own way. Stress and anxiety can do that to a person, and if this happens to be your spouse’s reaction to the pandemic, there is probably very little you can do to dissuade him or her of the inadequacy of this response.

Because you share children and loved ones, however, you are naturally compelled to put their health and safety first. If you can’t trust your spouse to do the same – by ensuring that your children wear masks when they’re out and about together and by wearing a mask himself or herself – it can lead to an insurmountable rift. 

 

Masks, social distancing, and handwashing represent the only line of defense we have – to date – against the Coronavirus. Rejecting this bridge toward a new normal in which we continue moving forward toward more socially engaged lives simply isn’t an option for most of us. If your spouse has a diametrically different view, it can wear away at your marital bond (especially if your marriage is newer). 

The Disillusionment Phase

Human services professionals commonly refer to the Phases of Disaster, and one such phase is disillusionment. For example, when states first entered into the so-called lockdown, we were all a bit stunned, and change came at us so quickly that we didn’t have a lot of time to reflect or even to adequately notice the exact toll that the immense stress took in our lives. Now that some time has passed and we’ve all settled in a bit, some of us are more prone to hitting a wall of disillusionment – when whatever optimism we’d held onto begins to fade. If you and/or your spouse have let go of the conviction that better days are ahead, it can be disastrous for your marriage (and other relationships). While some people are energized by the inherent challenges they face, others are more prone to giving up hope. If even one of you is the latter, it can make continuing to foster a healthy marriage far more difficult. 

How about that 2020?

As if that isn’t enough, it’s important to consider additional challenges that are unique to 2020, including:

 

  • The sharp division that politics has created is too serious to ignore. If you and your spouse face political differences, it can feel like fuel that’s been added to the fire. The fact that the election is quickly approaching doesn’t help.
  • Every decision that you make regarding your children is fraught. Balancing their ongoing health with their ability to partake in enriching opportunities that come their way (including extracurricular activities) can seem impossible.  
  • Heightened stress plays an outsized role in domestic violence, and there is little doubt that domestic violence is on the rise in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Couples who’ve been married for longer often have reserves of coping mechanisms and goodwill that have accrued over time, and that help them get through stressful times like the events of 2020. Couples with fewer years under their belts often face a much more difficult challenge. Experts agree that when the pandemic loosens its grip, we can expect to see a surge in divorces across the nation.

Don’t Wait to Consult with an Experienced Annapolis Divorce Lawyer Today

If you’re staring down a divorce as you make your way through 2020, Patrick Crawford at the Law Office of Patrick Crawford in Annapolis, Maryland, is a dedicated divorce lawyer with the experience, focus, and compassion to help. We offer virtual and in-person appointments, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (410) 216-7905 for more information today.

 


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