What to Know About Divorcing During a Pandemic

Family law attorneys are seeing an increase in divorce filings during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, online searches for divorce-related information have increased by more than 30%. Couples are finding out that they are annoyed with each other after having to be locked down together during the quarantine. Many have given up trying to make things work and they want their freedom.

However, getting divorced is no easy task to begin with. The quarantine has added another layer of complexity onto the usual process. Courts and law firms were closed earlier this year. While these places are starting to open up now, many courts and law firms are meeting remotely.

COVID-19 is still here, though. Cases are starting to rise again and may continue to do so as we head into winter. This could potentially lead to yet another lockdown. Could you handle being cooped up with your husband or wife again?

Many couples have actually seen their relationships improve due to the quarantine. They are spending more time together. They are picking up new hobbies and tackling projects that they once neglected. They are working together to raise their kids. They are happier due to no longer having a commute.

On the flip side, many couples have seen their relationships deteriorate. They are stressed out beyond belief. Many have been laid off, so finances are a concern. They are dealing with kids being home 24/7 and trying to keep them on track with their schoolwork. Many people have seen loved ones die from COVID-19 and are grieving those losses.

In short, there is a lot going on right and it is causing people to give up on their marriages. You may be in the same boat. Should you give up or stick it out? The decision is ultimately up to you, but there are some things to consider first.

It May Not be Your Spouse’s Fault

Yours is not the only marriage that has gone through some rough patches due to COVID-19. The pandemic has affected everyone to some degree. We are all feeling the stress of having to navigate kids, work, finances and relationships right now. 2020 has been a crazy ride and there is still no end in sight. Some states are reopening slowly, but we are still nowhere near normal. There is a lot of uncertainty still, and it is making us feel out of control.

Keeping all this in mind, it just may not be your husband’s or wife’s fault that you are miserable. While it may drive you nuts when they are watching TV during the day or keeping you up all night with their snoring, they are likely not the problem. The pandemic has caused a lot of negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety and depression, and you may be projecting these feelings onto your spouse. It is easy to blame someone for the way you feel, but the truth is that they are likely not at fault.

So, before you file for divorce, talk things out with a counselor. Therapy can help you understand the root causes of your issues. You may not need to divorce after all. However, your spouse could be a problem if there is abuse involved. Domestic violence has increased during the pandemic, so if you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your children in any way, by all means, get out.

The Process May be Slow

If you do decide to divorce, do not expect a quick resolution. There is a backlog as courts reopen and try to handle emergency cases, so things may be slow. They can take longer than usual, especially if you have a high-conflict case. If you really want to divorce, start the process as soon as possible. Talk to a lawyer and start getting all your documentation in order. Try to resolve your issues without the courts, if possible. Use mediation or some other sort of alternative dispute resolution.

Kids are Home More

With kids primarily doing distance learning, they are home more. This can be an issue if you divorce. Will you be able to work and handle your kids’ schooling on your own? Also, some college students are back at home and this could be an issue if you divorce. If you move out of the marital home, you will need to find a place that accommodates your kids. This may mean that you cannot downsize or get the home that you expected.

At the same time, your kids will be homeless, as they will split their time between you and the other parent. How will this work? Will child care be needed? You and your ex-spouse should work out an agreement.

The Workplace is Unstable

Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. Due to the economic uncertainty, it is possible that you could end up unemployed at some point, as well. Are you prepared for this possibility as a divorced person? Would you be able to financially support yourself ? Unless you receive alimony or child support, you will not receive any financial support from your ex-spouse, so you cannot depend on him or her to pay your bills. So, if you think divorce will be your best option, have a financial plan in place.

House Values are Hard to Estimate

With the economy in disarray, it is hard to value assets. If the marital home is being sold in the divorce, you may or may not get the money you anticipated. Many city folk are ditching the crowded metropolitan areas for the countryside and suburban living. This means that home prices are dropping in the cities, while homes in the country have skyrocketed in value.

Seek Legal Help

The pandemic has caused a lot of strain on relationships. Family members are no longer speaking to each other. Many couples have filed for divorce.

Is your marriage on the rocks? Can it be saved? If not, contact Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. He can help you divorce quickly and easily during this stressful time. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation.