Divorce inquiries increasing during pandemic

COVID-19 puts added stress on relationships

Some relationships may have become stronger during the pandemic, but those aren’t the couples calling the Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic.

Executive director Kathy Parsons said people initially called with concerns about eviction and unemployment when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“It’s sort of come in waves. Now, in the last little bit, it’s more the family-type things,” Parsons said.

“It’s pretty standard when there’s difficulties to see an increase in family law matters. COVID brings many of those vulnerabilities together at the same time.”

She said there have even been a few calls where one parent wants their children to strictly follow COVID-19 safety rules, and the other doesn’t.

Sometimes, couples will call because they resolved their issues, “but that’s not the majority of our calls, by any stretch of the imagination.”

She said recently, the clinic has experienced about a 20 per cent increase in divorce inquiries, but current restrictions to court access have limited how far cases can proceed.

“It’s kind of an odd situation, in that we do have a higher demand for that kind of service, but we’re really limited in what we can actually do about it.”

She said urgent matters that involve domestic violence are quicker to be heard by a judge, but files have piled up at the courthouse. An amicable divorce that may have taken six to nine months will now take a lot longer.

“Everything is kind of hanging in a limbo-type situation, because we just don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know when the courts are going to be operating more normally.

“People don’t know when they’re going to be going back to work, or getting more full-time work. There’s just so much uncertainty.”

Related:

Divorce reforms delayed as experts brace for post-pandemic surge in divorces

Many considering divorce change minds: study

She said many people may be holding off on divorce because they can’t afford to live independently. Those who started court proceedings prior to the pandemic may no longer be able to afford their lawyer, she added.

During this stressful time, couples could take a look at other options, like counselling or mediation, Parsons said.

“It’s a big step. Things will get better sooner or later, as far as the bigger picture, like the economy. But it’s not going to happen tomorrow. You’re probably better served to find a way to get along.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Toronto Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez (37) hits a single to drive in two runs against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Jayna Hefford speaks in Toronto on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

Most Read