These past few years put a lot of strain and tension on families and tested many relationships. We’ve had to navigate a global pandemic that left us stuck at home with our partners and kids with minimal support from the powers that be. So, it’s no surprise that the unique struggles have led to divorce for many couples. And if online searches about divorce lawyers were any indicator, some states struggled with their relationships more than others.
DivorceAnswers.com, a resource of legal information about divorce, says the rate of divorce inquiries escalated during the pandemic. The lockdowns, a necessary measure during peak COVID spread, resulted in a “flood of divorce inquiries.” The site attributes this to the extra time couples had to spend together while under immense stress.
“Spending more time together, having more time in general and having limited opportunities to leave the house may have resulted in some discovering their partner’s hidden traits, such as extra-marital affairs or dishonest behavior,” Lauren Cook-McKay, a marriage and family therapist and vice president of marketing and operations at DivorceAnswers.com, said in a statement.
To find out more about how the pandemic affected divorce, DivorceAnswers.com dug into the data, analyzing online searches for the term “divorce lawyers.” They found that the term was searched 6,197,520 times during the pandemic, but some states drove those numbers up more than others.
DivorceAnswers.com ranked the states from highest number of search terms to lowest, weighted by state population — and there was one clear “winner” and one “loser.”
States that searched divorce lawyers the most:
1. New Jersey
2. New York
9. Rhode Island
States that searched divorce lawyers the least:
42. New Mexico
45. North Dakota
48. South Dakota
According to experts who spoke with DivorceAnswers.com, several factors likely played into thoughts of getting divorced. These ranged from conflicts related to vaccines, financial stresses, and being in too close of quarters for too long leading to repeated arguments.
In fact, 34% of married people reported that the pandemic put stress on their relationship, according to the Institute of Family Studies. Yet some couples have weathered the pandemic together and only come out stronger.