Lockdown and Divorce
Divorce is always seen as a taboo in India. Moreover, the long period of litigation and the
cumbersome process of hearing is very undesirable. Indians, in any way, prefer to avoid
divorce. It's old news that the pandemic is affecting many of our core relationships. But
lawyers, therapists and academics are starting to get a clearer understanding of the multiple
factors feeding into the Covid-19 break-up boom – and why it looks set to continue into 2021.
As the coronavirus continues to interrupt lives, facing unique challenges has become the new
normal. Some obvious effects of the outbreak are the impacts on the economy, our education
systems, and the environment - but it seems the pandemic and its stay-at-home orders
throughout India have also managed to wreak havoc on the nation's marriages.
There has been talk amongst relationship experts and family attorneys that divorce rates spike
post-pandemic when courts started operating again.
Some couples who have been stuck at
home were forced to interact and engage with each other in different ways. They may have had
to address issues or confront subjects they were able to avoid by engaging in their regular
routines, working, and socializing.
The overall stresses of the pandemic - financial, emotional, and physical - are forcing some
people to take a hard look at their partners. Tensions are high, and there's nowhere to go. The
truth is, it's already established that spending more time together, in close quarters, can
increase the chance of divorce.
One of the first indicators of not-so-happy married lives is the increasing cases of domestic
violence. In a normal situation, the victim can get away from the violence and stay somewhere
safer, but lockdown made the victims more vulnerable. As a result, the violence experienced a
The COVID mandated lockdown in India saw a simultaneous rise in divorce and child custody
cases. During the lockdown period in India, Mumbai, which witnessed the highest number of
COVID cases, also saw an equal swelling in the number of cases filed for divorce and
subsequent child custody. Delhi acquired the second spot.
According to city advocates, there
has been a 30 to 40 per cent increase in the petitions moved before the family courts in the
Port cities in the last three months. About a dozen petitions are filed every day in these courts.
This is in contrast to seven or eight petitions moved daily in the city. A clear threefold rise in the
number of divorce cases in some of the first-tier cities of India during the lockdown
demonstrates the increasingly strained relations.
And coronavirus was a significant contributor
to that. A lawyer search platform, Lawrato has noted that about 6 out of the 10 calls they
receive in a day is about divorce. Another similar website, Lawyered has experienced a 20%
spike in divorce cases since the lockdown. At the same time, it cannot be denied that lockdown
has brought many couples closer and, the current graph of the baby boom bodes well with it.
As per advocates, couples seeking divorce are mostly younger ones, with less than five years of
"Infidelity, extramarital affairs, physical and psychological incompatibility, over
indulgence in pornography leading to unrealistic expectations and dissatisfied sexual life,
financial insecurity and job losses, altercations with in-laws and harassment by them during
prolonged stay at home are the main reasons for seeking of divorce. Although there is not
much data on the number of divorce cases after the lockdown ended, successful counseling can
stop the rising figures.
However, there is one more aspect to it. Many couples without better
reach would have found it too difficult to file divorce cases. So, apart from the hasty divorces,
the inevitable ones would finally culminate, once we try to return to normalcy, raising the
overall divorce rate.
Although we do blame coronavirus for this, it can never be sufficient to
break a successful marriage. Moreover, being stuck at home anyway takes a toll on our mental
health. In such circumstances, resentment or bitterness in relationships is completely normal.
And if not properly guided, the rancor can get aggravated and finally lead to divorce.
Written By: Vibhuti Chaturvedi
Law Article in India
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