Even as the economy reopens, the American public has yet to feel the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The global event has already affected many laws and healthcare providers, as the system responds to the emergency. Domestically, spouses face challenges to their marriage, as quarantine measures keep partners in sometimes uncomfortable proximity.

In response to these new relationship challenges, marriage counselors and divorce lawyers are receiving a flood of new business.

Divorce rates are on the rise

Erin Wiley is the director of a counseling center in Ohio where their phone has been ringing off the hook. Wiley claims that the center’s dedicated couples’ counselors have had to wait-list clients looking for help. Wiley says the number of requests is encouraging — it means couples want to work on their relationship and address the issues that make something like quarantine so challenging.

Wiley says that people who spend that much time together quickly figure out their priorities in regards to the marriage. At that juncture, people either buckle down and get to work or seek to end the relationship quickly. Couples may come to find it is time to contact a divorce lawyer.

A lawyer in Virginia is experiencing a similar influx of calls, but not for counseling. Most are calling for advice on separation and child custody, with plans to seek divorce once the quarantine ends. The wait for a divorce hearing may be longer than most anticipate as courts are among the slower institutions returning to business-as-usual. Courtrooms must manage several weeks of delayed hearings before they can take on new cases. Civil cases, particularly divorce, may not receive a hearing date for months.

In countries like China, which reopened its economy a few weeks ago, divorce rates have skyrocketed. Many local lawyers anticipate the U.S. will show a similar trend in the coming months.

A lawyer can provide more information

Spouses with questions about divorce can find answers with a local attorney familiar with family law. A lawyer can offer legal advice, assess a case or connect people with helpful resources. Spouses in abusive situations where separation is a matter of safety should immediately contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.