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UPDATE: How Has COVID-19 Affected Divorce Rates? What Family Law Attorneys Should Know

Crying woman and man giving back engagement ring

With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, Americans in most states are still spending a lot more time than usual at home. And while many people will embrace this unprecedented amount of time spent with family, for others, this will lead to more arguments, more conflicts within the home, and ultimately, more divorces.

Across the world, stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related lockdowns have caused divorce filings to skyrocket. From mental health to financial struggles or illness in the family, the pandemic has driven a wedge between spouses.

Spouses are Splitting Up in Record Numbers

According to a recent survey about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on couples, 31% say that quarantine has damaged their relationship. With so many couples struggling, experts and attorneys are predicting a record number of divorce filings once life starts to go back to normal — with some already reporting a 50% increase in inquiries from potential clients.

Another recent industry article revealed that 58% of people pursuing a divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic had been married for less than five years — a 16% increase from last year. This suggests that fresh marriages are more susceptible to lockdown-related stresses than more mature ones, giving attorneys valuable insights as to which audience groups they should be trying to reach with their marketing campaigns.

The numbers have even more to tell us, though: The divorce rate in southern states has been two to three times higher than the rest of the United States.

The states with the highest divorce rates so far are:

  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana

With these figures in mind, the question family law attorneys should be asking now is not whether COVID-19 will cause divorce rates to rise, but instead, “What can I do to give my firm the best chance at bringing in some of these new clients?”

Here’s how to make sure your firm is prepared

  • Try to maintain as much of your firm’s advertising as you can. Ensure your practice is appearing at the top of the search results page when people are looking for a family law attorney in your local area. With many attorneys still taking a conservative approach to their online advertising, cost per click is still significantly lower than normal.
  • Invest in social media and advertising that focuses on building your firm’s brand, as the amount of time people are spending online has increased significantly.
  • Offer video conferencing for all consultations and meetings with both new and existing clients. We live in the digital age, and products like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts have quickly risen in popularity since people have been forced to stay home.
  • Find ways to provide value and service to your existing clients. Be available. Over-communicate. This helps to build trust both now and in the future.
  • Find ways to provide value to potential new clients, such as answering questions on your blog or posting informative videos on social media. The videos should be on topics that would be helpful to anyone who could potentially be facing a divorce or family law issue, whether that is now or in the future.
  • Reach out to local news outlets about being featured as an expert on divorce and family law matters during COVID-19. Unless you’re contacting a major media outlet, most reporters and producers are pretty receptive to proactive outreach.

At Scorpion, we’re here to serve as a resource to help you better serve your clients and protect your practice during these challenging times. For more helpful COVID-19 guidance, continue checking our resource page for up-to-date content, or contact us directly for advice on overcoming the specific challenges your firm is facing.

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