The coronavirus pandemic has put an “enormous strain” on relationships, as family lawyers predict a “post-lockdown divorce boom”, according to Citizens Advice.
Views on its divorce webpage on the first September weekend had increased by 25 per cent compared with the same date in 2019, whilst the law firm Slater and Gordon said Covid-19 had “exacerbated” marriage problems.
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It added that a rise in conveyancing instructions was “signalling an increase in couples separating and wanting to sell their properties.”
September was an uncharacteristically busy month for family lawyers, with many couples attempting one final summer holiday before scrapping their relationship.
It’s thought the altered circumstances for spouses – induced by the coronavirus pandemic and months of lockdown – exacerbated pre-existing issues.
Citizens Advice data showed searches for advice about getting a divorce peaked on Sundays, with the designated web page being in the top two most-viewed on its website for the past four weekends.
On the first weekend of September, its advice webpage amassed more than 2200 views, a 25 per cent rise on the same weekend in 2019.
Tom MacInnes, chief analyst for Citizens Advice, told the BBC: “We know that this pandemic has put an enormous strain on people financially but our data shows that strain is also being felt in people’s relationships.”
Divorce searches spike at the weekend
The charity has experienced record-breaking demand, but people have been seeking different advice on weekdays and weekends.
Even when the nationwide lockdown was eased in July, people continued to search for issues such as redundancy and benefits during the week, before altering to divorce, wills and noisy neighbour advice at the weekend.
Most recently, following the government’s new guidance on the rule of six, there has been a spike in views on advice around meeting.
Throughout the pandemic, Citizens Advice said online traffic decreased during key press conferences and broadcasts by the prime minister before page views increased again afterwards