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Divorce rates surge during quarantine

A man sitting alone (NBC News Channel)
A man sitting alone (NBC News Channel)
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Tensions seem to be on the rise at home during the quarantine. Local marriage therapists and divorce attorneys say they've never been busier.

"We have a number of dedicated therapists who see couples, but we do not have enough for the number of people who are calling for therapy, so we had a wait-list," said Erin Wiley, MA, LPCC, executive director of The Willow Center.

Wiley said that in the four years that The Willow Center has been guiding families and couples, they've never received so many calls for couples counseling.

"From a therapy perspective, it’s been really encouraging that so many people are reaching out to get help, because how can you be good at something you don't know how to do? And none of us take any formal education on how to be married."

The increase in calls came around early April, just weeks after Ohio’s quarantine went into full effect.

"When people are together that much, they realize whether they want to work on a relationship or they're done working on it. So I think just the intensity and the heightened closeness, everything is just a little bit 'more' in every way than it was before."

And when that intensity becomes too much, it might be time to look at other options.

"Tensions flare and they get upset with each other and, rather than being able to walk away, things escalate," said Michael Bryant, attorney at Michael E. Bryant Law.

Since the pandemic hit, Bryant's phone has been ringing off the hook.

"Normally, I'd get five or six calls a week. Now I'm getting five or six calls a day some days."

But with courts limiting trials, getting a divorce finalized right now isn't likely unless domestic violence is factor.

"I can file paperwork, but a lot of courts aren't scheduling anything right now. The few things they are scheduling are just those domestic violence cases, those civil protection cases."

Wiley tells couples that communication and actually listening to your partner is key.

Bryant said that the most important thing to do when going through a divorce is making sure you are physically safe.

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