Demand for Divorce and Will Writing Surges During Pandemic
New figures have revealed the role of legal services during lockdown and how it is set to change following the first wave.
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be directly responsible for a looming surge in the UK divorce rate, according to new data released by legal service comparison site The Law Superstore.
Registrations for quotes for legal services relating to divorce first rose in late March as lockdown measures began to be imposed throughout the UK, then climbed more sharply during April before finally reaching record levels in May and June. The week beginning 25 May saw the height of demand, coming two weeks after lockdown restrictions were eased; interest in divorce legal services was 80% than the Q4 2019 average during this time.
Overall, demand for divorce legal services was 30% higher during May and June than during Q4 2019.
The data’s main implication is that lockdown measures, confining families in their homes and reducing outside social contact, created a tense environment for married couples. The additional stressors of uncertain finances and drastically altered childcare and education are also likely to have exacerbated tensions, along with a reduction in support from family, friends or professionals during the lockdown period.
“Spending eight weeks or longer in the same house as your spouse might be an enjoyable experience for some, but for many couples it has caused significant amounts of stress and conflict, intensifying existing marital tensions,” said Rob Houghton, CEO of The Law Superstore.
“This clear trend of rising demand for legal services relating to divorce since the end of lockdown suggests that many families found the pressure of forced isolation together too great, and with long-term home-working becoming more established, it’s possible divorce rates will remain above the long term average for some time.”
In addition to the spike in demand for divorce services, demand also rose for will-writing services during the height of lockdown. Interest peaked during March 2020 at 70% greater than the average during Q4 2019, and the proportion of customers writing their first wills increased in March and April by 13% and 25% respectively on an annual basis.