Tuesday, August 4, 2020 – 10:00 am I Foto: RamsdenLawyers I by Editorial
The divorce rate has risen markedly since the end of the lockdown. In the second half of May, there were as much as a quarter more divorces than in the same period last year.
Living on each other’s lips for weeks has been the last straw that flooded the bucket, according to Bart Van Opstal of the Notaries’ Federation.
During the period when Belgium was in lockdown – from March 18 to May 4 – the notaries saw a sharp drop in the number of divorce certificates in the first instance. Of course that did not mean that there were fewer marital problems during that period, on the contrary. The lockdown made it more difficult to arrange divorces and to sign the papers with the notary.
After the lockdown, notaries suddenly received many divorce applications: 25 percent more divorce certificates were signed in the second half of May than in the same period last year.
The trend continued thereafter, it said slightly less strongly: in June, there were still nearly a fifth (19.3 percent) more divorces than in June 2019, and in July, there were still 13.2 percent more divorces than in the same month last year.
Notary Van Opstal has two major explanations for the increase after the lockdown. “At first there was a catch up, because it was difficult to sign divorce certificates during the lockdown.”
But that the number of divorces is still high at the moment, of course, has a second explanation: the lockdown has been a hard relationship test for many married couples. “In many cases, this period has been the last straw that has overflowed the bucket,” says Van Opstal.
“In marriages where there were tensions before, those tensions have often increased during the lockdown. Many then made the decision that their marriage could not go on like this, inquired about a divorce during the lockdown and went to the notary after the lockdown to arrange the divorce. ”
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