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What does the falling divorce rate mean?

The New York Times reports a downward trend in the national divorce rate. After the year, the country experienced and tensions raised by significant isolation; this change appears counterintuitive. But is it?

A tale of two Marches

Last March, Americans across the country hunkered down for an extended stay at home. When that happened, millions of people with considerable marital problems were forced to confront those issues head-on. That created a temporary divorce “boom” while people realized that they could not ignore their marriage difficulties.

After the initial shock wore off, the divorce statistics in California showed that there were nearly 3000 fewer divorces from March 2020-February 2021. While not a national statistic, it is a telling one, and anecdotal evidence suggests this trend is true nationwide.

So why did the divorce rate change?

Many believe that the main factors for the decreased divorce numbers are:

  • Near-term uncertainty: While indicators for a healthy recovery look strong, many across the country are unwilling to take on the financial risk of divorce.
  • Job losses: When a person loses their job, it can decide to pursue a possibly expensive divorce much more difficult.
  • Court closures: Closed courts meant that family law cases stalled completely.
  • Forced couple’s therapy: In many cases, the new proximity created a time for couples who may have been heading to divorce to re-learn about their partners.

Whatever the exact reason for the slowdown, few expect it to continue once the current public health crisis ends.

What will next March look like?

It’s impossible to say how divorce figures will change. What is important to note is your feelings about your relationship. Maybe you recognized yourself in some of the reasons for divorce delays. If you did, and you feel you want to move on from your relationship, family law attorney Jay Schwartz may be able to offer you guidance on where to go from here.