Divorce rates predicted to increase following COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:36 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Local attorneys are predicting a spike in divorce cases following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney Stewart Werner says he hasn’t seen an increase in divorce cases here in Amarillo as of right now, but once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, he is expecting to see a spike.

“While people are sheltered together, it can be kind of difficult to get a divorce, and it’s just a hunch I have. I have a sense that once this is all over, couples may realize that they don’t like each other as much as they thought they did," Werner said.

According to Family Support Services, the high stress the pandemic causes within the household can lead couples to responding irrationally, especially while being sheltered together for extended periods of time.

“The stress and pressure that is on everyone right now due to the pandemic, related to just our new social distancing, the finances, the state of uncertainty that really kicks people into this true fight or flight response," said Amy Horde, director of behavioral health and wellness for Family Support Services.

Horde also says couples who were already at risk before COVID-19, could see these problems intensify during the shelter in place order.

“Couples that are at risk already, that are struggling, are going to be more likely to certainly feel that strain, and so that doesn’t mean that it’s not salvageable, and that it’s not beyond help," Horde said.

Horde is encouraging couples who are struggling to make it through the pandemic to seek counseling prior to seeking a divorce attorney.

“Money, parenting, sex, those kinds of things that the communication with a counselor can help with can be really beneficial and really work towards saving marriages," Horde said.

If divorce seems like the only option right now, Attorney Werner says all court operations are still being conducted through remote technology.

“People sometimes hear that the courts are closed, and physically they are," Werner said. I mean, of course we aren’t hearing things in the courtroom, but we are still able to have hearings mostly on essential matters, and if deemed an essential matter courts will hear them remotely, meaning by video."

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