The plethora of people engaged in COVID-19-related self-isolation, whether due to infection, exposure without yet having symptoms, or governmental “safer at home” orders, means that millions of Floridians are shut in at home. They’ve been at home for days or weeks, and will be for weeks into the future. This is a radical disruption in many people’s routines. While some have joked that this period of couples “stuck” at home with extra free time could lead to a “baby boom” in late 2020 and early 2021, many professionals who deal with married couples know that there is a flip side: a potentially significant uptick in the number of divorces. If you’ve come to the conclusion that your marriage is hopelessly beyond saving, you should immediately make plans to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney.
This phenomenon of an increase in divorces among couples on “lockdown” has been seen across state – and even national – boundaries. Page Six spoke to attorneys in New York City, where at least one Manhattan “power divorce attorney” saw “a 50 percent increase.” In London, a Fleet Street law firm, which had previously identified a 230% increase in “I want a divorce” internet searches after the Christmas holiday, expected a similar uptick as a result of the widespread self-isolating that Britons are performing, according to a CNBC report.
As with the winter holidays, people are removed from their regular daily routines, and, for lots of folks, being “off-routine” is a source of stress in and of itself. It may make them easily agitated, or it may make them depressed and aloof.
Additionally, as with the Christmas holiday, the current period may be causing severe anxiety about money and finances. Millions and millions of self-isolating people either already have lost their jobs or are worried about imminently becoming jobless. The website MagnifyMoney identified financial matters as the cause of 21% of divorces, based on a survey of 500 divorced U.S. adults. The actual percentage may be even higher than that.
Many married couples are able to hide from their problems, using things like work, clubs, workouts at the gym or other athletics, sports on TV, social gatherings, and other things to minimize time with their spouses and avoid facing their problems. With all these activities stripped away by COVID-19 restrictions, they may now be forced to face each other…and those issues. The Manhattan lawyer described it this way to Page Six: “People who have enjoyed busy lives suddenly find themselves confined together, at a time of incredible anxiety.”
Certainly, one should be careful about making decisions in haste. One verbal “blow up” during a prolonged period of isolation may not necessarily mean that your marriage is over. However, if this extended period of time at home with your spouse has forced you to face the inevitable conclusion that you’d been avoiding until now – that your marriage is broken and past the point of saving – the best next step is probably to get started on a divorce.
You may, or may not, be able to get a Florida divorce right away
You should be aware that there are certain requirements that Florida law imposes before you can receive a divorce in this state. For example, one or both of you must have lived in Florida for at least six months before a Florida court can grant you a divorce.
If you’ve moved to Florida from another state, you may know that some states impose mandatory minimum periods of separation. (In Kentucky, for example, the law says that a court can’t grant a divorce unless the couple has lived apart, or lived in the same home without having marital relations, for at least 60 days.) You don’t have to worry about that here. The Florida Statutes do not impose any similar sort of mandatory minimum period of separation.
If you come to the rational and unavoidable conclusion that your marriage truly is over, it is time to begin exploring getting a divorce. For the thoughtful and reliable advice that you need in this stressful time, rely on the skilled South Florida divorce attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.