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Despite many experts predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic would drastically affect divorce rates, the number of divorces has mostly stayed the same. However, lockdowns and the new reality of working from home caused many couples to remain together, regardless of the multiple challenges, uncertainties, and mental health crises many people experienced during the first year of the pandemic.
But how do divorce statistics and trends look in 2022? The year is nearing its end, so let us look at the numbers and typical causes of divorce for the last twelve months.
In 2022, the divorce rate in America was 2.3 per 1000, which is a decline compared to previous decades, especially between 1960 and 1990. Contrary to experts’ predictions, the divorce rate in America fell by 12% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The divorce rate among couples aged 25-39 is 24 per 1000 persons. Older couples divorce less frequently – there are 21 divorces per 1000 persons among adults between 40-49 years of age, while the divorce rate for couples older than 50 is 10 per 1000 adults.
In Illinois, the top five cities with the highest divorce rate in 2022 are Mattoon (18%), Harrisburg (18%), Calumet Park (17%), Herrin (16%), and Creve Coeur (16%).
The year behind us was full of challenges, especially for couples experiencing marital crises. The divorced spouses also had their share of struggles. However, everyone dealing with divorce experienced common causes and issues in the first post-pandemic year. Here are the most typical divorce and post-divorce trends in 2022:
1. Narcissistic character traits are the leading factor contributing to divorce. Living with a narcissistic spouse will inevitably cause marital problems and potentially harm the marriage. Most divorces in 2022 result from an abusive relationship in which one spouse is a victim of their narcissistic partner. Narcissistic personalities make life harder for everyone around them, especially their intimate partners. They tend to view people in their life as a means of satisfying their needs. Narcissists are possessive and aggressive, thinking they have the right to dispose of other people’s lives as suits them. Being insensitive to their spouse’s emotional well-being, they engage in various forms of abuse. During the marriage, a narcissistic spouse will scold their partner for pursuing their career, taking time for themself, or seeing friends. After the divorce, a narcissistic ex-spouse will prevent the partner from seeing children or continuing with life in a new relationship.
2. Alienation between parents. In 2022, parental alienation is one of the main reasons causing a marriage crisis. In many cases, one of the parents is a narcissist who abuses their spouse, which naturally leads to alienation. There are also other factors that make parents feel like strangers to each other. Parents of little children often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and unable to nurture their relationship. Over time, they do not feel the intimacy and affection that brought them together in the first place. When kids grow up, spouses who disregarded their relationship and let alienation take root do not feel like spending the rest of their lives with a person they consider a stranger. After the divorce, parental alienation can pose more serious problems. Narcissistic spouses often prevent their partners from seeing children or invest significant efforts to make their communication more difficult.
3. Medical issues play a decisive role in the post-pandemic world. Making medical decisions for their children has always been one of the issues over which many spouses disagreed. When the pandemic hit, spouses had to decide whether to take vaccines. That was not an easy decision (especially in the early days of the vaccine campaign), considering various health, social, and religious considerations. After the vaccines became available for children, many parents found themselves in uncharted decision-making territory. There are families where one parent wanted children to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible, while another refused to give consent due to health or ethical concerns. Diverging views on these and other medical-related issues represent one of the leading causes of marriage crises and divorce.
4. Financial troubles are central to discord at all times. Regardless of economic and health crises, financial disagreements have always been a source of conflict for many spouses. Nothing has changed in 2022. Following the pandemic, many families experienced significant financial losses. Many spouses lost their jobs due to layoffs, while others experienced investment failures in the shaky investment marketplace.Very few marriages are immune to sudden largescale financial blows. Many couples cannot accept changing their daily routines to adapt to new circumstances. That causes disagreements and conflicts, which can lead to a divorce.
5. Custody-related problems. The leading trend for divorced spouses in 2022 was parenting time allocation and custody modification. Once the divorce process conscludes, the parents must carry on with their lives. However, their reality is different and more complex. While each spouse wants to start a new chapter in life (and sometimes forget about their ex-spouse), they must, ideally, maintain a productive co-parenting relationship. Doing this is in their children’s best interest. Post-divorce challenges typically result from different views on parenting time allocation. Each parent wants to spend more time with their kids. Sometimes the other spouse prevents the other from seeing children, and they must seek the court’s intervention. The same goes for custody modification. Life’s circumstances change and preserving children’s well-being sometimes requires changing custody arrangements.
6. Relocation. The work environment is different in the post-pandemic world. Even with most restrictions lifted, many employers continued their work-from-home policies. Since working from home is more affordable, many employees moved to other locations. While it makes earning a living easier, relocation creates challenges for divorced parents, making it difficult to engage in an effective co-parenting relationship. Moving away from where one’s children live with a custodial parent means a parent will not be able to see them as often as before. Relocation can cause problems for married couples as well. Moving to another city can be suitable for one spouse while creating difficulties for the other. That causes marital friction and a potential divorce.
7. Prenuptial agreements are on the rise. 2022 brought a sharp increase in new marriages. There were 2.6 million weddings this year in the United States. Many couples waited for the COVID-19 restrictions to ease so they could organize their dream wedding. Prenuptial agreements have increased in popularity as a result of new marriages.
Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC is an Illinois law firm practicing family law since 1988.
No matter what caused a marriage crisis, we help couples proceed through the strategic steps through a divorce without additional stress. Our legal team offers a custom-tailored service that fits each unique situation. Whether a couple chooses litigation, mediation or collaborative divorce, we can help you..
Reach out to us today at 847-995-8800 to discuss your circumstance and case.