Divorce court is usually quiet during holiday season — but 2020 is booming

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The breakup biz is booming.

The holidays traditionally signal a downturn for the marital disunion industry. However, US courts logged a record number of divorce filings recently, which they attribute to the coronavirus pandemic, Business Insider reported.

“We’ve got loads of [virtual] court appearances and motions to file and it’s really busy,” described Emily Walsh, a matrimonial lawyer in New York City, who says that Thanksgiving week is typically quiet.

A July survey by Legal Templates, an online database of legal documents, found that sales of divorce agreement paperwork skyrocketed by 34% year-over-year. This signifies that more couples are trying to sever the knot than ever before.

Meanwhile, search-engine data firm SEM Rush discovered that online searches of “filing for divorce” shot up by 22% year over year while “file for divorce online” spiked by 95.86% for the same period.

Some blame the uptick on couples trying to submit their paperwork early, in the event that the courts delay nonessential cases over COVID-19.

However, others believe that couples have simply become sick of each other after quarantining together for extended periods of time. Sara Yunus, an attorney in San Diego, told CBS8 that COVID cabin fever has gotten so bad she’s “seen people stay in a hotel for a few days just because they need that break.”

And while many traditionally wait until January to file to prevent ruining the holidays, this year it appears couples are too fed up to care. “The tension is just too high,” said Morghan L. Richardson, a matrimonial attorney and partner at Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron LLP.

“I think familiarity breeds contempt and the more time they’re forced to be together where they don’t have an outlet outside of the marriage, because everything is so restrictive and their social lives outside of the house are restricted, those problems are magnified,” added Jordan Linn, an estate-planning attorney. “They quickly realize that as soon as [the divorce is final] they want out.”

Unfortunately, divorce isn’t the only marital metric on the rise in the time of corona. Lockdown living has reportedly caused domestic violence levels to spike throughout New York City with spousal abuse reports tripling at certain agencies.