Divorce rate spikes as Brussels emerges from coronavirus lockdown

Divorce rate spikes as Brussels emerges from coronavirus lockdown
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The lifting of the coronavirus lockdown in Belgium has seen couples in the Belgian capital rush to separate, with notaries saying that the divorce rate has surged in past months.

Following a dip during the all-out lockdown period in the spring, notaries in Brussels said that, from mid-May, a week after authorities announced Belgium begin phasing out from lockdown, divorce filings spiked by nearly 15% in comparison to last year's figures.

At the national level, notaries said that the increase in divorce filings are even higher, going up by a quarter in comparison the previous year.

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"We have no explanation as to why country-wide figures are even higher than those in the capital," Bar Van Opstal, spokesperson for the Federation of Notaries told Bruzz.

During the months in lockdown, notaries recorded a dip in the number of divorce filings, with Van Opstal citing difficulties for couples to get the paperwork through, even as the months of isolation at home strained some relationships.

"During quarantine, it was just much more difficult to get a divorce, even as that period was very difficult for many couples to get through because certain frustrations were magnified."

Van Opstal said that the federation expected this upwards trend to continue into the fall, saying that it was "quite possible" that divorce filings also continued to spike up in Brussels in the coming weeks.

At the beginning of June, the federation had already begun recording a spike in the number of divorce filings and predicted they would keep rising in the coming months, in line with a wider global trend as couples emerged from months in lockdown.

In China's Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, divorce rates doubled as households emerged from the Hubei province's 2-months lockdown, with notaries saying there was a waiting time for couples, as several rushed in to part ways.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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