By Gabriel Toueg
SAO PAULO (AA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong side effect among Brazilian couples.
A study released last week by an association of notaries showed that long periods of continuous coexistence due to quarantines and lockdowns led to the highest number of divorces since record-keeping began in 2007.
Colegio Notarial do Brasil (CNB) said the 43,859 extrajudicial divorces carried out only at notaries in the second half of 2020 were 15% higher than in the same period of 2019.
October 2020 was the month with the highest number of divorces -- over 7,600.
The variation between the second half of 2019 and same period of 2020 is 13 points higher than the national annual average of only 2%.
The association said it believes the rise in data is also related to the fact that in July 2020, due to the pandemic and in order to respect the social isolation recommended by the authorities, notaries began offering the possibility of online divorces, easing the process.
“This atypical year has brought about many changes, both in people’s coexistence and in the provision of services to citizens. Notaries obtained authorization to provide various services electronically, enabling citizens to solve their personal and property problems without leaving home and preventing situations of bad coexistence from remaining unsolved,” Giselle Oliveira de Barros, CNB’s president, said in a statement.
The on-year growth reflects an increase in the number of divorces in 22 states and the Federal District, with significant growth in the second half of 2020. In total, 16 Brazilian states broke their own historic divorce records in the period.
According to CNB, the overall number of divorces in 2020 was lower than in 2019, but only because notary services were interrupted in March and part of April. In subsequent months, notary offices had to adopt restrictive measures to maintain social distancing, which could also explain the drop.