We keep reading and hearing that divorces are going up due to the COVID pandemic, largely based upon lawyers anecdotal opinions, perhaps influenced by a desire to drum up business, or a sort of sense that COVID makes for stressed relationships.
Is this true?
No. It's not true at all. As reported in a Calgary Herald article, ironically titled "COVID-19 infecting marriages, driving up divorce numbers, say family mediators", while relying upon the idea of a non-lawyer largely displaying a complete lack of understanding of how divorce even works, the article quotes actual statistics which show:
"Figures provided by the province show the number of divorce application filings in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench from March through June this year number 2,490, which is 29 per cent below the 3,503 in the same four months of 2019.
And this 2020 number is 35 per cent below the 2016 figure of 3,808."
What? Divorces are actually lower post-COVID than in the previous two years? Yes - that's correct.
Why? Well, because it's a terrible time to get divorced. For the primary income earner, current income is likely lower, but they run the risk of support being based upon 2019 numbers. For the supported party, the uncertainty of COVID makes low-income arguments more tenable - and once support gets set, it can be difficult to change it.
Regarding property distribution - many investment portfolios are down, business values may be down, and so prudence might be a better course of action than charging into a divorce during a significant economic downturn - particularly in this part of the Country.
In the news this week - another article touting the fact that Divorce does not have to be a war where the only winners are the two lawyers.
Have a look at this recent post in DivorceMagazine.com where the benefits of Collaborative Divorce are discussed. If you're interested in pursuing your divorce in a collaborative fashion, Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. (former President of the Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association and Tyler S. Pollock (current Board Member with the Collaborative Divorce Alberta) are specially trained and ready to provide you assistance in working through a Collaborative Divorce.