Article written by Nardine Collier
Family Lawyer Cairns & Alice Springs

I read an interesting article last week, entitled: ‘When Coronavirus lockdowns ended in cities across China last month, there was one thing a lot of people couldn’t wait to do: get divorced.’ Here is the link to the article: https://www.mamamia.com.au/relationship-tips-covid-19

Apparently, the Global Times reported that there has been a “record-high number of divorce requests in recent weeks” in the Chinese city of Xi’an. The article wonders whether the same might happen in Australia, when couples are forced to spend more time together then they are used to.

Then a colleague sent me this image; – which I found funny, only because it pokes fun at Lawyers, and I think sometimes we need that.

Image Source: https://bit.ly/2Y26d47

It did cross my mind if there would be more separations as a result of the virus, and if there is – there is nothing funny about that. One reason certainly could be that spending so much time together causes the cracks in the relationship to appear. What is perhaps more likely, is the terrible financial impact this virus is having on Australian families and the tension this will bring to a relationship.

I have seen lots of jokes on social media about how alcohol consumption has increased for many; again, for many this is no joke and it will be the issue that brings a relationship to an end.  Depression over a lost job, fear about finances, increased drinking and/or drug taking – it’s a recipe for disaster with a great concern being the increase of family violence.

If you feel your relationship is floundering since the outbreak, what can you do?

    • Talk to each other about it
    • Get help! You can still access counselling services online or over the phone. There is also a lot of help out there to assist those who are struggling financially –  head to https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/ for more.
    • Be Safe – not just from the virus but from dangerous situations. If you are worried about family violence, call the police.
    • Seize the opportunities for quality time with your family, that you may not have had before
    • Hang in there – this won’t last forever.

If you really feel as if your relationship is at an end and you don’t know what to do, call us. We can help.

Nardine Collier is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and has been mediating Family Law disputes for over 25 years. She is a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, a Family Law Arbitrator, a panel Mediator for various Australia wide organisations and for courts and tribunals. Nardine regularly mediates at Legal Aid conferences in Family Law, in Cairns and Alice Springs. She is also the Cairns Representative of the Queensland Chapter of the Resolution Institute of Australia.