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COVID-19: A Source of Stressors Increasing Divorce Risk

COVID-19 has imposed stressors on virtually every aspect of our lives.   Marriage is no exception.  What are some of the added stressors that can increase the risk of marital strife and lead to a divorce? How might these stressors play out in a divorce?   Experienced attorney Kathleen M. Newman of the DeWitt LLP law firm can help you navigate these critical issues.

What are some main stressors COVID-19 impose on marriages?

  • Unemployment. This not only causes income loss but nearly always the loss of health insurance and other important benefits, like the use of a company car;
  • Loss of a business. Many business owners are facing the permanent loss of their business or at least a significant disruption. Like the loss of employment, closing or significantly downsizing a business will cause a loss of income and benefits, but also a decrease in net worth and maybe even claims by creditors causing loss of other assets. For example, there may be a mortgage on the marital home securing a business loan;
  • Heath problems. This includes not only the contraction of the virus but also related challenges, including mental health issues like depression and anxiety;
  • Radical lifestyle changes. Many parents have been forced into the uncharted waters of working at home, often while balancing the duties of supervising their children’s distance learning. Before and after school programs that working parents once relied on may now be closed or have reduced hours. These conditions have imposed increased obligations on already stressed parents and have increased the risks of marital conflict;
  • Domestic violence. Unfortunately, the above factors have contributed to an increase in domestic violence, both between spouses and child abuse.

Under these conditions, marital counseling is probably more important than ever to determine whether the marital troubles are temporary or whether they will lead to a divorce.  If divorce is inevitable, my team of professionals at DeWitt LLP is prepared to help you address these “COVID” related stressors.  For example, loss of employment will impact the calculation of child support and spousal maintenance.   The loss of or downturn of a business will also impact the property division and often spur complex business valuation questions.  Also, any domestic abuse will significantly impact the determination of child custody and parenting time.          

Take away:   COVID-19 has imposed yet another layer of complexity on divorces.  If you are considering a divorce, then more than ever you need the skilled and compassionate family law counsel of Kathleen M. Newman and her team of professionals at DeWitt LLP.  To learn more about our services, please contact us to schedule a consultation.


“Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence and Abuse During COVID-19,” Forbes (August 29, 2020).

“I Don’t Know If My Relationship Will Survive the Pandemic,” The New York Times (August 26, 2020).

“The Strain the COVID Pandemic Is Putting on Marriages,” The Wall Street Journal (August 4, 2020).


About the Author

With extensive experience in all aspects of marital dissolutions, Kathleen M. Newman has handled many complex divorces, including cases with closely held business interests, professional practices and high net worth cases. Her clients appreciate her listening skills and quick assessment of complex issues. She helps her clients organize a strategy to accomplish their goals in resolving the issues in their divorces.

She can be reached by email at or by phone at 612-305-1400.




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DeWitt LLP is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has more than 130 attorneys practicing in Madison, Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.


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