According to the company’s findings, many marriages were destroyed in less than three weeks of quarantine. In addition, couples in Southern states were most likely to sign a divorce agreement. In fact, the rate of divorce in the South was two to three times higher than in other US regions.
The Southern states with the highest divorce rates were Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana. These are also some of the US states hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company determined that they saw separation inquiries hit a peak on April 13, at about the same time that the majority of US states were beginning to impose strict lockdown measures to curb the further spread of the novel coronavirus. The report notes that officials saw a 57% increase in inquiries on April 13 when compared to figures from February 13.
Newlyweds were “hit hardest by a significant margin,” according to the report. The findings reveal that while only 11% of people who sought a divorce agreement from Legal Templates last year had been married for five months or less, that figure nearly doubled to 20% during the same period in 2020 during quarantine. That means that a “significant number” of couples who got married this year between January and March ended up purchasing a divorce agreement between April and June.
In addition, the rate of divorcing couples with children has spiked compared to 2019, with the number of life insurance policies purchased to secure spousal support payments for divorce settlements increasing this year as well.
During the pandemic, 45% of couples that filled out Legal Templates' divorce agreement had children under the age of 18, marking a 5% increase from the same period in 2019.
“It’s clear from our data that the COVID-19 crisis has increased divorce rates across America - particularly in newlyweds and couples with young children,” Legal Templates concluded in its report.
“Unfortunately, the stressors presented during these unpredictable and unprecedented times were too much for many couples to handle. It’s possible that divorce rates will continue to rise as economic, financial, social, institutional, and psychological turmoil from the COVID-19 virus unfolds,” the firm added.