The Christian Institute has reacted to new data from Citizens Advice showing an increase in online searches for divorce guidance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Searches for ‘divorce’ were up by twenty five per cent on the Citizens Advice’s website on the weekend of the 5-6th September compared to the same time last year.
Ciaran Kelly from The Christian Institute told Premier that it is important to remember that online divorce searches, in many instances, don’t lead to actual divorce: “Thousands of people go further than searching, they even start divorce proceedings, but they don’t actually go through with it.”
He added it was fundamental that all couples, including Christians, think about what they expected of marriage.
“Perhaps there is, even among Christians, a fairytale gloss to it that when the honeymoon is over and the shine has worn off – there is surprise that there is hard work to do.”
Over the weekend of 5-6 September, Citizens Advice had over 2200 views of its page on getting a divorce, compared to 1800 on the same weekend last year.
Chief Analyst for the advice charity, Tom MacInnes, said divorce guidance searches have been rising for some months now: “At Citizens Advice we’re seeing visits to our website reflect two quite different types of concerns. While many people are still seeking advice on topics such as furlough, redundancy and benefits, new issues are popping up.
“We know that this pandemic has put an enormous strain on people financially, but our data shows that strain is also being felt in people’s relationships. We’re now seeing an upward trend in views of our divorce webpage.
“At the beginning of lockdown we saw a drop in people looking for divorce advice on our website, but since April it’s been rising. We also see views of certain pages, like divorce, peak over the weekend rather than on weekdays.”
Ciaran Kelly said there’s a range of support for couples who want help with their marriage difficulties, from speaking to their pastor or vicar online, or in person within coronavirus guidelines, to sharing their problems with Christian friends.