There hasn’t been hard data from a firm like Donich Law, but Canadian lawyers specializing in familial legislation have reported an increase in consultations relating to separations and divorce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family law specialist Diana Isaac, a partner at Shulman & Partners LLP, Toronto, stated that they’ve seen a 40% increase in calls from couples looking for advice on separation, or are outright looking to end their marriages, since the start of the pandemic.
Isaac reported that they’re definitely seeing an increase in inquiries. They explain that they’ve seen people whose relationships have been on the edge of breaking down, and the lockdown pushed them into the edge. People were forced to stay together in the same time, dealing with financial stress, and issues regarding the pandemic.
The spike in demand for legislative advice, that some firms like Donich Law have been forced to hold online sessions to navigate the legal system.
Divorce mediator Edit Farun have been holding virtual meetups for couples looking for information about separating during the pandemic, alongside social worker Debiie Shawn and family-law lawyer Charlotte Goldfried.
Farun noted surprise about how many people are looking for help with separation, with questions about how long the process would take, the costs, the issues that need to be dealt with, how the kids would be handled, and other inquiries,
Farun agreed that the pandemic has led to the stress that drove people to their office. They explain that couples need friends and time away from each other to socialize. The COVID pandemic has locked people in their own homes, meaning that they’re in each other’s spaces 24/7. This, in turn, has made things much harder and more complicated for them.
Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Montreal President Andrew Sofin noted how hard the pandemic has hit marriages in the country.
He says that it’s something else, with the pandemic exacerbating all the issues that were present in people’s relationships.
The damage isn’t equal, Sofin notes, saying that the people who have to deal with the most stress during the pandemic, like frontline workers, as well as those living in small spaces, have been hit the worst.
Sofin recommends that people try therapy to reconcile their differences first before having to resort to divorce.