74% of divorcing couples want to “keep things civil”

74% of divorcing couples want to “keep things civil”

The coronavirus pandemic has been a testing experience for everyone – and in more ways than one. For some married couples, it is the moment at which t

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a testing experience for everyone – and in more ways than one. For some married couples, it is the moment at which their relationship was pushed beyond repair. And it fuelled a spike in break ups and divorces around the world as the strain of staying at home created new tensions – while making pre-existing ones worse. That said, new research from a leading law firm reveals how couples are trying to keep things cordial as they part ways.

Simpson Millar found that three-quarters of all British couples currently going through a divorce are looking to “keep things civil”. It is perhaps a sign of how the unique pressures of this global pandemic are putting a wedge between relationships that couldn’t be foreseen on their wedding day. It could be that annoying habits are becoming inescapable. Or that spending so much time in each other’s company is having a negative impact.

How has Covid-19 affected relationships?

Even the tiniest things can add up and lead to the breakdown of a relationship – no matter how solid it may seem at first. But some of the common factors that can put pressure on a marriage are compounded by the need to work from home, home-school the little ones, or money issues associated with redundancy or furlough. There are also serious worries about the mental health impact of the pandemic, which can place an unbearable strain on a relationship for some.

David Lister, partner and head of family law at Simpson Millar, said: “The last 12 months have been undeniably challenging. It’s no surprise that such an intense period is leading to more separations and divorces. As lockdown eases, we expect that more people will move forward with their plans to part ways.”

What does the latest research show us?

The effect is that more divorce solicitors are reporting spikes in online searches and enquiries from couples looking to go separate ways. The challenges posed by the pandemic is a leading reason why “unreasonable behaviour” is being cited as the most common grounds for divorce (44%). And women appear to be more likely than men to start that process too; official stats suggesting that 62% of UK divorces are sought by the female partner in a marriage.

This illuminating statistic perhaps makes greater sense when you consider that Covid-19 has seemingly made gender inequalities at home even worse. No matter what the cause, though, any break-up is unfortunate. And for those who want to embark on a new course of life, that divorce process is the sad first stage: “A marriage or civil partnership falling apart is difficult enough, but we believe that the divorce process doesn’t have to make it worse,” adds Lister.