The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. From the way we work and socialise, to how we think about what we want from the future.  

One of the biggest impacts we’ve seen has been on personal relationships and family life in general. With national lockdown restrictions, homeschooling and home working, the family dynamic has been through something of a whirlwind. 

In this week’s blog, we’re taking a deeper look at how family life has been forced to rethink it’s status quo. 

A strain on couples

In a survey carried out by Families Un-locked, 45% of couples felt that lockdown put a real strain on their relationshipAlmost a third of couples reported that the lockdown had a negative impact, worsening their already struggling relationships. 

For some, lockdown catalysed the decision to move in together, perhaps forcing them to hit bigger milestones before they’re ready for fear of being alone during the restrictions. Couples went from seeing each other during the evenings and weekends, to spending every minute of every day with their partner. This has been a huge adjustment, and one that for many has been impossible to make. 

Whilst some family units were able to embrace lockdown and make the most of their new found time together, others have found the experience very different. Existing cracks in relationships really came to the fore, and with nowhere to go to get that all important (and distracting) personal space, some relationships haven’t survived. 

Struggling to juggle responsibilities

School closures have left the majority of parents with the task of homeschooling. According to the Families Un-locked study, the vast majority of parents reported enjoying spending time with their children during lockdown. However, three quarters felt overwhelmed by the childcare responsibilities.

Feelings of guilt and inadequacy have been the order of the day for a lot of parents who felt ill equipped to give their children the education they need. Others have also struggled to manage a full-time job, childcare arrangements and homeschooling all at once. 

Families across the globe have had to weather the storm of a global pandemic, financial uncertainty and health anxiety. It will come as no surprise then that family breakdowns have been on the increase as a result. 

Higher divorce rates

Divorce enquiries and divorce rates have increased dramatically the world over since the pandemic began. The UK has been no exception. Leading British law firm Stewarts logged a 122% increase in divorce enquiries between July and October, compared with the same period last year. 

While this follows the expected correlation between prolonged family time and increased divorce rates (for example, cases spike after Christmas), there appear to be some changes specific to the pandemic. For example, there has been a significant increase in the number of women initiating divorces, with 76% of new cases coming from female clients, compared with 60% a year ago. 

Experts suggest that this is because a disproportionate share of the housework and childcare is still falling on women, even in couples where the male partner also works from home. Partners have found themselves disappointed after realising they’re still doing all the housework and childcare, despite the fact that both of them are at home all the time.

Close to some, far from others

One of the most distressing elements of lockdown has been the fact that families have split apart due to travel restrictions. Life in lockdown has necessitated close, constant contact with our families and partners, but social distancing measures have isolated us from our friends and wider communities.

Technology has had a huge role to play in maintaining contact with loved ones physically far away from each other. And although it’s been a bright silver lining in a very dark grey cloud, people are still feeling disheartened and miss those they’re close to.  

This has undoubtedly taken a toll on mental health, which has worsened the strain and tension between families and couples. 

Harrogate Family Law can help

If you’re struggling with the impact of the pandemic, and you’re considering a separation or a divorce, Harrogate Family Law is here to help. 

Get in touch with us today to find out about how we can get you on the path to a brighter future.