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Why the pandemic is causing spikes in break-ups and divorces

  • Published: January 14, 2021

As we head into 2021, Worklife is running our best, most insightful and most essential stories from 2020. Read our full list of the year’s top stories here.

After seven years of marriage, 29-year-old Sophie Turner and her husband filed for divorce. They’d never discussed splitting up before the coronavirus crisis, but during the pandemic, their marriage soured. “I was more stressed, and it was all just building up, and we decided for maybe a trial separation,” says Turner, a support worker for children’s social services in Suffolk, England. “Very quickly we realised it was going to be more permanent than that.”

Their experiences are becoming increasingly common, with divorce applications and break-ups skyrocketing across the UK and around the world. Leading British law firm Stewarts logged a 122% increase in enquiries between July and October, compared with the same period last year. Charity Citizen’s Advice reported a spike in searches for online advice on ending a relationship. In the US, a major legal contract-creation site recently announced a 34% rise in sales of its basic divorce agreement, with newlyweds who’d got married in the previous five months making up 20% of sales. There’s been a similar pattern in China, which had one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the start of the pandemic. The same is true in Sweden, which, until recently, largely relied on voluntary guidelines to try and slow the spread of Covid-19…Read More

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