Post COVID Lockdown Why Huge divorce filings happened

Experts view and Survey results:

According to figures from the Superior Court of New Delhi, divorce filings are up significantly in Mumbai and New Delhi over the past five months, compared with the same period in 2020. Some lawyers and relationship experts say that divorce filings in New Delhi and other states are also on the rise.

“These kinds of trends usually run parallel from state to state,” said chair of the divorce and family law group, a matrimonial law practitioners in New Delhi.

Of course, it's difficult, if not impossible, to know whether the higher rates are because more people want to get divorced or because many courtrooms were closed during the pandemic, creating a backlog

In the New York law firm Cohen Stine Kapoor, said that “since April, our phones have been ringing off the hook, nonstop, and most of those calling are people who want to come in and start divorce proceedings.”

Stine added, “During the pandemic, many of these same people were experiencing marital problems and putting off splitting up for practical reasons.” And in some cases, she said, couples were “waiting for the vaccines to be approved and to gain more social and economic stability before leaving their marriages.”

In May 2020, three months into the pandemic, Rachel Salomon, 46, who lives in New York, filed for a legal separation from her husband of 10 years, a manoeuvre that allows both parties to retain the health insurance they had been sharing even though they are no longer together.

Both parties can convert their legal separation status to divorced at any time.

Salomon, who has two young children, said of her status: “I filed just before the courts closed, and my legal separation status was finalized in January 2021.

“The best part was that my ex and I each had separate time with the children and time alone during the pandemic,” she said.

Cohen said that the financial reasoning behind these divorces generally followed one of two paths.

“In one case, there might still be money to pay for the divorce, to pay for childcare and for lawyers and other related legal expenses,” she said. “But in many cases there's less money involved for a soon-to-be-divorced couple, maybe because one of them lost their job as a direct result of the corona virus, and now the spouse who was hanging around for that money realises: ‘Wait, there is no money here. So why am I still here?'”

Questions like these are at the heart of many couples who applied for divorce.

Nilesh is a relationship expert lives in Gujarat, Bharuch. who collects data from the thousands of cases and he sends the same to married couples.

Two months ago, 2,704 married individuals responded to Nilesh's most recent survey regarding the effect on marriages of the re-openings after lockdowns. The respondents were married as of June 3; the survey was completed before the most recent surge tied to the delta variant of the virus.

Among the survey's questions was: “Since the reopening following the lockdowns of 2020 and a significant return to normal from the changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, has your marriage relationship been impacted?”

Ans: 20% of respondents said that the pandemic had harmed their marriage, a 10% increase from a survey asking the same question the year before.

“I didn't think it would turn around this quickly and dramatically,” Nilesh said. “I had hoped for a better result, but I guess that was just wishful thinking.”

Sunitha Lightened the rising number of divorces around the country to a bursting Balloon.

She said it could reflect marital problems that had been hidden from view for much of the past year and a half. “All of the issues, all of the problems people were dealing with during the pandemic, were always there, but we didn't see it as people were staying home at that time and the courts were closed for months,” Sunitha said. “But now many people have been vaccinated, and things are starting to normalise.”

That path of returning to Normal life, could mean that couples are finally completing divorces they were forced to delay.

A divorce lawyer and a partner at the New Delhi law firm, said that defending a divorced client now is a lot more complicated and detailed than it used to be earlier.

I've had to work through the kind of custody issues that did not exist before COVID-19 pandemic. They mean, who could have ever thought back then that we would be hearing plaintiffs and defendants arguing over whether or not the nanny should be vaccinated, or a request that only people wearing masks could play with their children. And then there's ‘I do not want my child to be educated remotely'; I want him or her in school.

Nirmala a relationship expert in Mumbai, Navi mumbai, said she had been inundated with calls from recently divorced people around the country. Whether those calls are coming from New Delhi, Mumbai, or any state in between, nearly all share a common theme.

“During the pandemic, couples took their time to re-evaluate their relationships and set their minds on Prioritising loved once, before deciding to either stay married or get divorced,” Nirmala said.

“There's a lot of angst out there,” she said, “which is why many divorced people tell me that they are now approaching new relationships by holding potential partners to a higher level of maturity and authenticity, and that starting from the dating level, will never again ‘settle' for just anyone.

She added, "Those days are over, because no one wants to get divorced again."

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