As the coronavirus forces couples into close quarters, more and more are asking for a divorce.

It's been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the coronavirus pandemic might just prove the proverb to be true. As couples are quarantined together, the divorce rates have been rising in China—and are predicted to continue to rise throughout the rest of the world.

According to Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, a high-profile celebrity divorce lawyer whose previous clients included Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna, Liam Gallagher, and the Prince of Wales, “the prediction amongst divorce lawyers is that following self-imposed confinement, it is very likely that the divorce rate will rise.”

Based on her analysis, peak times for divorce happen after couples experience long exposures to each other, such as during the summer holidays and over Christmas.

She went on to say, “One only has to imagine what it’s going to be like when families are sealed in a property for a long period of time.”

Well, you don’t actually have to imagine because the situation in China has already proven the prediction to be true. As the coronavirus has spread across China, so has an increase in divorce requests. According to the Global Times, the Chinese city of Xi’an has seen a record-high number of divorce requests since the marriage registries opened on March 1. Some areas saw numbers so high that local offices are maxed out on the number of appointments available and have reported that it will take until the end of March to process the backlog.

Part of the reason for the increase in divorce requests could be the fact that offices were closed during the peak of China's coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the Global Times reported that the offices are likely being hit by a wave of delayed requests after re-opening. The other reason though, is that being quarantined with their significant other caused couples to re-evaluate their relationship.

A Chinese official working in the registration office in the Beilin district of Xi’an said that the rise in divorces was partly caused by the spread of coronavirus, which forced couples indoors and required them to spend a lot of time in close quarters.

“As a result of the epidemic, many couples have been bound with each other at home for over a month, which evoked the underlying conflicts,” he said.

The head of registry in Dazhou, Sichuan Province, Lǔ Shìjūn also said that since February 24, their office has handled 88 divorce requests, and more than 100 couples were still waiting for their applications to be processed. He also pointed out that young adults made up a higher percentage of the couples who filed for divorce at his office.

Some officials are suggesting that these divorces are based on impulsive decision-making, caused by spending too much time together. An official in another marriage registration office said that some young couples even decided to remarry when their divorce certificate was still printing.  

So, is spending more time together a good thing or a bad thing? And how much time is too much time? Let us know what you think!