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Will divorce rates rise after lockdown?

Will divorce rates rise after lockdown?

Specialist family lawyer, Sarah Jane Lenihan, Partner at the Stowe Family Law office in London shared her thoughts today on TalkRadio regarding divorce rates rising post-COVID-19 lockdown. 

If I had a pound every time someone asked me if I thought there would be a surge in divorce post lockdown, I would be a very rich lady.  And this morning was no different on TalkRadio. 

The media reported that China experienced a spike in divorces as the lockdown was released.  However, the question is was that due to the lockdown or to the fact many family law offices were closed and therefore there was a backlog of processing cases? 

Getting divorced during the lockdown

As lockdown was announced, the family law team at Stowe Family Law transitioned immediately to a remote way of working and have continued to see cases progress, existing and new.  

Whilst it may be the case that some people that are waiting for the lockdown to finish or are struggling to contact a solicitor we are finding people are making enquiries when and where they can.  Clients have contacted us from their weekly supermarket shop or on their daily exercise. Finding the space they need to seek help confidentially. 

Does lockdown cause divorce?

Lockdown has meant that couples are now spending almost 24 / 7 with their spouse. For some, this is a positive experience but sadly for others, it is intensifying any problems that previously existed. 

And this is the key point, working with our clients we are finding that in the majority of cases the lockdown situation is not the cause of the relationship breakdown. Instead, it is the final straw that has led to progressing a separation/divorce. Any negative feelings are likely to be amplified in lockdown as there is no escape. 

We have seen a small number of those were happily married have their relationship put under strain due to concern over finances, employment or health.  Also not having the opportunity to spend time away from their spouse with friends/family is extremely difficult for some.  This can quickly lead to arguments over issues that would not arise or easily be resolved in a more normal world. 

Maintaining calm during the lockdown

Lockdown is a really difficult time for everyone and is not the time to make any rash decisions. 

Here are some tips on trying to keep the household calm during the lockdown: 

Clear communication is vital to maintain a healthy relationship. 

Enjoy activities separately whether this is your daily exercise or finding a separate space to enjoy a hobby undisturbed. 

Keep in contact with your friends/family over the telephone video.  This can be done during your daily exercise if you wish to do this out of earshot of your spouse. 

Consider counselling – many providers are offering online services. 

If despite this you feel unable to continue in the relationship or you just want some guidance about a divorce/separation then please do seek legal advice. 

If you and/or your children are suffering any abuse or harm it is important that you seek help immediately. There are some useful contacts below. 

Get in touch 

If you would like any advice on divorce in lockdown if please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist family lawyers.

We are offering virtual consultations for anyone needing family law or divorce advice and all clients during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. To arrange your consultation, call us on 0330 404 6063 and we will book in an appointment at a time to suit you.

Useful contacts

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327

The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123

Please note that Stowe Family Law does not necessarily endorse the organisations listed.

Sarah advises on all areas of family law (divorce/dissolution, cohabitation, domestic violence, children) and has worked with a broad spectrum of clients both nationally and internationally.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Andrew says:

    Will there be more lockdown divorces than lockdown babies?

    Someone on another blog, I can’t remember where, said that from December 2033 there will be Quaranteeners!

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