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'Divorce Filings Have Skyrocketed': Lawyer On Impact Of COVID-19 On Marriages

(CBS Local)-- 2020 has been an unprecedented year because of COVID-19 and the global pandemic has impacted virtually every part of our lives. While divorce rates have been on the rise in the United States for the last few decades, coronavirus has increased the number of divorce cases for lawyers across the country.

Michelle C. Thomas is a divorce lawyer in Washington D.C. and says she has never been busier.

"It's been nuts for the past few months. Divorce filings have skyrocketed since the reopen following the quarantine," said Thomas, in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "It's sort of like the pandemic created a perfect storm for couples who were already contemplating divorce. Marriage is hard enough and with COVID-19, it's that much harder for so many families. Think about it, you're locked in a house for months on end. It's brought a lot of the issues that were previously swept under the rug to the surface. Couples who may have been able to tolerate each other for a few hours were stuck and all of the social outlets were taken away from us."


Thomas believes the financial issues brought along by the pandemic have put additional strains on many marriages. The lawyer said she saw a huge spikes in calls to her office in July when courts began to reopen. Thomas had clients who wanted to have a consultation as soon as possible.

"The last data and statistics I've seen said there's been a 30% increase in divorce filings post-quarantine and that definitely sounds about right," said Thomas. "We have been bombarded. We meaning divorce practitioners. This was just the straw that broke the camel's back. The courts are backlogged and unless you have some urgent, emergency situation, you should expect to wait to get your case back on the docket. All the cases from March-June that were cancelled have to be rescheduled. You should expect to wait, which is why I encourage people to settle the legal issues they have. If you do get to court, it's so weird doing these trials by Zoom on child custody and alimony."

Watch all of DJ Sixsmith's interviews from "The Sit-Down" series here.

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