With more people than ever currently being encouraged or required to self-isolate to help slow the spread of coronavirus, it's caused some unfortunate side effects. Among the shortage of toilet paper, major events being postponed and online retailers combating price-gouging, there's also been an influx of divorce inquiries in recent weeks.
In fact, couples filing for divorce has skyrocketed, citing financial stress and simply growing weary of being cooped up with one another. Matrimonial attorneys are experiencing a dramatic rise from unhappy couples -- and potential clients. According to leading attorneys in New York, some couples forced to spend time together while quarantined. This includes New York City-based attorney William D. Zabel, who spoke with Page Six on the matter.
"We've had an increased amount of calls in the past week from people seeking representation for divorce proceedings, a 50 percent increase, and I have been hearing the same from my colleagues at other firms. People who have enjoyed busy lives suddenly find themselves confined together, at a time of incredible anxiety."
There's also a number of affluent couples who are potentially avoiding larger settlements later.
"If wealthy people are looking for a rationale for divorce, an economic downturn is often a motivation. The net worth of the moneyed spouse is lower, and therefore a settlement could be lower. I anticipate there will be a number of high-profile divorce cases in the coming months."
The sentiment was echoed by Melissa Thoen, a New York couples therapist in an interview with The New York Post. "Many fights coming out of this will stem from not having space, and being overwhelmed." She also cited Xi’an, China, where requests for divorce from couples emerging from lengthy quarantines have overwhelmed their legal system.
As of Wednesday, there were 54,453 reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with 737 deaths, according to The CDC. In an attempt to get ahead of the situation, normal life has closed down for much of the country, with restaurants and bars temporarily shuttering, schools closing and switching to remote learning when possible, and stores adjusting their hours to keep places stocked and sanitized.
Amid all this, people are still being encouraged (at the very least) to stay inside and self-quarantine so as to both slow the spread and not overwhelm the medical system in the process. Several celebrities have jumped on board, encouraging their legions of followers to stay inside for everyone's sake. Some have just been nicer about it than others.