Married and Quarantined: As COVID-19 cases surge in Utah, will divorce cases do the same?

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Whether it’s working from home or just staying home to stay safe, couples are spending a lot more time together due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this current global outbreak on the surface appears to have brought married spouses and families together, but for those couples who may have already been in a rocky relationship, the time in quarantine may cause more harm than good.

Amid the many disruptions of our daily lives during the pandemic, finances remains a major concern among individuals. Job loss, furloughs, and reduction in work hours play a part in the financial hardships faced during the pandemic. Marco Brown, divorce attorney at Brown Law tells ABC4 “there are two main things couples fight about in a divorce, that’s money and their kids.”

The financial stress coupled with confinement, dealing with children and trying to cope with the risk of contracting a deadly virus if you step out of your home has the potential to push an individual to their breaking point. “We’ve had couples who tried making their marriage work for the kids that came to us and said they just couldn’t stay together anymore” Marco Brown tells ABC4.

So, are law offices seeing an increase in divorce inquiries amid the pandemic?

According to study published in February by Lending Tree found Utah’s marriage rate has seen a zero percent increase since 2009. Between 2009 and 2018 marriage increased by 8.4 percent. Divorce rates in the state increased by 2.7 percent. Mississippi, New Mexico and Massachusetts saw the largest increase in marriage rates.

Marco Brown says while he hasn’t any data to support divorce cases are surging in the beehive state, there certainly hasn’t been a drop off in cases. “Typically we see an surge in divorce cases around the start of the year, and usually during the spring and summer months. We did see a decrease in divorces for about 2 weeks in March, but after that it’s been steady” Brown said.

With the recent cases of domestic violence across the state, Marco Brown says his law office has seen a spike in protective orders, “we’ve done a lot those in the past 2 months” said Brown.

While finances, deciding which parent the children will live with are all things that might seem like many couples can come to an easy agreement on, finding out that a partner at some point had an affair isn’t so easy to compromise on. Marco Brown says infidelity is usually a large percentage of cases that come into his office.

Filing for divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic, from a financial standpoint might not seem like the best idea, as so many people have experienced some type of monetary loss. Brown said “95% of the time they sell the home, cash out and take the money to move somewhere else.”

As each situation is different, and couples have their specific reasons as to why they feel divorce is their only option, Marco Brown of Brown law says everyone should try as hard as possible to save their marriages. “I often send people to marriage counselors when I think they don’t actually want to divorce” said Brown.



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Tracy Smith
Curtis Booker, joined the ABC4 family in January of 2019 as a Digital Content Producer. In May of 2019, he transitioned into learning the inner workings of becoming a news producer assisting with various shows. Curtis most recently rejoined the Digital team as a multi-media journalist in February of 2020.

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