With travel restrictions, kids home from school, and stay-at-home orders in North Carolina, families may be feeling increased tension in the home. Many couples are separated during long stretches of the day when at work, out with friends, or spending time exercising. Such a dramatic change in day-to-day life can be challenging and may lead to an increase in divorce filings after the COVID-19 outbreak ends.
If you have any questions about filing for divorce and want to know about your options, talk to your North Carolina family law attorneys for help.
Increase in Divorce Filings in China After Coronavirus
Divorce filings have increased significantly in China over recent weeks. Cities like Xi'an and Dazhou have recorded higher rates of divorce filings since the beginning of March after the coronavirus mandatory lockdowns. Local government offices have been overwhelmed with the increased divorce filings and some towns have placed daily limits on the number of divorce filings allowed.
Many of the couples attributed the divorce to the outbreak, citing financial problems, lack of equity in housekeeping and child care, and depression and anxiety.
According to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek, the Chinese government will consider a proposal for a new “30-day cooling-off period for couples petitioning for divorce, during which time either party can withdraw the application.”
Increase in Domestic Violence Reports in China
Reports of domestic violence have also risen in China following the stay-at-home orders and self-quarantine. Daily frustrations, worries about money, and drinking too much can increase the risk of fighting and emotional or physical abuse. According to another report, a police station in Jianli County received more than three times more reports of domestic violence in February compared to last February.
In North Carolina, the stay-at-home orders provide limited relief for individuals who do not feel safe at home. “Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternate location, which can include a hotel or shelter.”
North Carolina Families Under Stay At Home Orders
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a general stay-home order to residents of the state through April 29th. The extraordinary measures are intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed. This is keeping most families in North Carolina at home except to perform essential work and essential activities, including:
- Taking care of others,
- Obtaining necessary supplies, and
- For health and safety purposes.
For families where one or both spouses are employed in “essential work,” such as working in healthcare or at a grocery store, their job may keep them out of the home for much of the day. However, most couples will find themselves spending much more time in a confined space with their spouse and children. Even if one or both spouses have a job to do from home, the distractions of having the family at home can cause frustration and interfere with work.
Divorce Filings in North Carolina After Coronavirus
North Carolina may see an increase in divorce filings after the Coronavirus emergency has lifted. However, a divorce in North Carolina requires the couple to live separately and apart for one year before the divorce can be granted. This separation period may allow couples who are feeling the pressure of the outbreak to have a “cool down” period, where life can get back to what it was before COVID-19.
Alternatively, a one-year separation may show the spouse that divorce is the right decision after all. A year living apart can come as welcome relief to some spouses, especially after being required to live together for a month around the clock and under challenging conditions.