21 Maggio 2020

Italy’ s divorces rise by third as lockdown pushes couples to brink

TWO months of pent-up frustration and irritation during Italy’ s lockdown have led to a dramatic rise in divorce proceedings, lawyers said. Petty niggles over leaving the lavatory seat up or not doing the washing up have come to a head for many couples forced to live in proximity since the country went into coronavirus shutdown in early March. In what may be a harbinger of what is to come in Britain, Italian lawyers report a 30 per cent increase in the number of couples inquiring about, or initiating, divorce proceedings. They say couples who were able to rub along tolerably well in normal times, with work and friends providing distractions and breathing space in the relationship, have been pushed to the brink by confinement. “I can’ t believe how oblivious my husband can be to the kids’ needs. He can have two toddlers bouncing on top of him and still be glued to his phone,” said one disgruntled wife in Rome, exhausted by the long weeks of lockdown. “For some couples, the equilibrium relied on the fact that they didn’ t see each other very often or they were able to see their lovers,” said Annamaria Bernardini de Pace, a divorce lawyer. Since lockdown began on March 9 she has taken on 12 new divorce proceedings. The loss of jobs and worries about money have exacerbated the tensions between many couples. As Italy emerges from its lockdown regime, there have been other unforeseen consequences – including a sharp hike in prices. Hairdressers, bars and restaurants are accused of increasing their prices since they were allowed to reopen on Monday. With Italians desperate for a haircut after being stuck at home for so long, some salons have hiked their prices by up to 20 per cent, according to the Italian Consumers’ Centre. The price of an espresso has risen in Italy’ s big cities by 20-50 per cent according to Codacons, a national consumer association. Business associations said the price rises were justified because of the huge loss in earnings caused by Italy’ s lockdown. Italy’ s GDP is predicted to contract by around 10 per cent as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The virus has killed more than 32,000 people in Italy, the third highest death toll after the US and Britain.
nick squires in rome

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