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 loo seat up or not doing the washing-up have come to a head for many couples forced to live in close proximity since the country went into coronavirus shutdown in early March.
2020欧洲杯网站In what may be a harbinger of what is to come in Britain, Italian lawyers report a 30% increase in the number of couples inquiring about, or initiating, divorce proceedings.
2020欧洲杯网站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.
2020欧洲杯网站“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 that they didn’t see each other very often or they were able to see their lovers,” said Annamaria Bernardini di 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.
The increase in couples splitting is no surprise to lawyers – most continued to work during the lockdown, communicating with clients via Whatsapp, Skype and other platforms.
“It is too early to give precise numbers but we have seen a doubling in requests for separations,” said Valentina Ruggiero, a family lawyer.
“Given the heavy emotional stress of the lockdown, my advice is for couples to evaluate whether it is a passing crisis or whether the relationship is really at the end of the line.”
2020欧洲杯网站Lawyers likened the boom in separations to the periods after Christmas and the summer holidays, when divorce proceedings traditionally spike.
2020欧洲杯网站“I knew that it would end up like this because for weeks I’ve been conducting consultations on the phone and social media,” Gian Ettore Gassani, the president of the Italian Association of Divorce Lawyers, told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
With courts closed during the lockdown, judges have allowed some divorce proceedings to be heard by videoconference.
The option is available to couples who have largely agreed the terms of their divorce, including custody of children and the division of assets.
As Italy emerges from its draconian 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%, according to the Italian Consumers’ Centre.
2020欧洲杯网站The price of an espresso has risen in Italy’s big cities by 20-50% according to Codacons, a national consumer association.
2020欧洲杯网站The tiny cups of coffee normally cost around €1 but in some places that has jumped to €1.50 in Rome, €1.70 in Florence and €2 in Milan.
2020欧洲杯网站Italians who have been longing for weeks to enjoy a cappuccino in a café or a haircut have had a “bitter surprise” that has hit them in the wallet, Codacons said.
Business associations said the price rises were justified because of the huge loss in earnings caused by Italy’s lockdown.
2020欧洲杯网站“There are businesses who have earned nothing in three months, they are going through great difficulties,” said Mauro Bussoni, the secretary-general of Confesercenti, a small business association.
One sector of the economy is doing well - shops that buy gold. Cash-strapped Italians are selling their rings, jewellery and watches or resorting to pawn shops for temporary loans.
Italy has around 6,000 gold-buying shops, many of which opened during the global recession a decade ago.
Italy’s GDP is predicted to contract by around 10% 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.