Local news for St. Johns County, Florida published a story regarding how the coronavirus pandemic may affect marriages and relationships.
The effect of disasters and pandemics on marriages
The most obvious and immediate effect of the pandemic is that most couples are spending a lot more time around each other. This may cause some to grow closer, but many will also start to get sick of each other’s company and drift further apart. There are a lot of unknowns regarding whether there will be a coronavirus baby boom or a wave of divorce filings. However, some disasters and stressful times from the past should provide important clues. The most likely answer seems to be that there will be both an increase in divorces and new births.
Throughout history, periods of bad weather and other serious problems that keep people inside have had mixed results on fertility rates and divorces. A study of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico found that less serious storms did cause an increase in births nine months later, however there was no comparable increase in the months following very severe storms. Snowstorms have also been associated with higher birthrates in the following months and years.
However, divorces usually have mixed results. Natural disasters do tend to cause more divorces, but problems caused by human error and problems like terrorist attacks do not tend to increase the divorce rate. Both the September 11th attacks in New York City and the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building actually caused local divorce rates to decrease by a significant margin. This is in contrast to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where the divorce rate in New Orleans doubled. Other devastating storms like Hurricanes Andrew and Hugo also showed similar increases in divorces in areas hit the hardest.
Why the pandemic may be different
The coronavirus pandemic is unique when compared to these natural disasters, because it has forced people inside for months on end, which is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. Many of these other disasters and emergencies only caused couples to be stuck inside together for days. When couples have a few weeks together inside during summer and winter vacations, this does generally increase the number of divorce filings. If the pandemic follows this trend, there will be a lot of couples getting divorced as restrictions start to ease. However, some experts believe that the opposite may happen, and many couples will have stronger marriages after more time together.
Speak with a local divorce attorney
There are lawyers in St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and other nearby parts of Florida who focus on divorce cases and family law issues. You can use the directory on USAttorneys.com to find more information.