If you are considering divorce during the pandemic, here are some things you need to consider.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted virtually every aspect of our daily lives — and that very much includes our closest relationships. With millions of adults still out of work or grappling with working from home, children struggling to learn remotely, and most activities and events postponed, our “new normal” is a challenging one to become acclimated to.
At first, it might seem like a positive to spend so much more time at home with your family. But for some people, the last few months in quarantine have brought ignored issues to the surface — and that can spell trouble for many couples.
Staying home can make us become fixated on what needs fixing. Of those who have lived in their current house for longer than six years, 61% will choose to renovate instead of moving to a new place. That much is clear from the increased interest in home improvement projects during this time.
But what if you believe your relationship is beyond repair? Should you consider divorce during the pandemic?
Divorce Rates Are Higher During Pandemic
If this line of thinking sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone. Many lawyers have been predicting for months that divorce rates will soon skyrocket. Family law attorneys report receiving an influx of calls from prospective clients who want to separate from their spouses, so it stands to reason that an increased percentage of the 67,000 Google searches performed every second pertain in some way to divorce.
But whether this is a step you should actually take or whether these thoughts of divorce during the pandemic are a product of undue stress might not be immediately clear.
Consider Your Options
If the thought of divorce during the pandemic is a relatively new one, you’ll want to consider your options very carefully before moving forward. Instead of immediately contacting a lawyer, you might do well to schedule in some time to care for yourself, if you’ve neglected to do so throughout the pandemic.
After all, no one can pour from an empty cup; if you’ve been ignoring your needs for the sake of fulfilling others’, this could cause just about anyone to lose their temper and start imagining a different life for themselves. Now’s the time for self-care — and it’s important that you start thinking of that as a necessity, rather than as a luxury.
Consider Other Alternatives
If sheltering in place is amplifying problems between you and your spouse that existed before COVID-19 hit, it may be time to consider couples’ relationship therapy. Fortunately, most counselors can offer some kind of teletherapy, making it easier and safer for you to seek the guidance you need during this time.
These sessions can facilitate better communication between you and your partner, help you manage stress, and potentially work through the problems in your marriage.
If your spouse refuses to entertain the idea of therapy, consider seeking it out for yourself. Your appointments can help you gain some clarity and may allow you to figure out your next steps in a more rational way.
Make a Plan
If, after all that, you’ve determined that forging ahead with divorce during the pandemic is the only path, you’ll need to conduct some research, get your financial records in order, and start making a plan.
Contact a Lawyer
You’ll first want to find out more about your options for divorce and contact some highly rated divorce lawyers in your area. Keep in mind that many attorneys will offer consultations via phone or teleconference if you’re concerned about in-person meetings; however, you may need to take extra steps to ensure your privacy.
Your lawyer can walk you through the process and advise you on important details, particularly as they pertain to assets and any children you share.
Since child support is payable until minor children reach the age of 21, your attorney will help you prepare for what you might expect in court.
Prepare for Life Changes
You’ll likely need to set up your own financial accounts, find your own housing, and potentially broach the subject of divorce with your spouse (providing you feel safe enough to do so).
Although no one wants to move or make yet another drastic life change during a time of so much unrest, these steps may prove necessary to ensure your ongoing health and happiness.
Don’t Put It Off
Certainly, this process, especially divorce during the pandemic, will be an easy one — it never is, and the ongoing crisis certainly doesn’t provide any relief.
You shouldn’t feel pressured to rush into any decisions, especially if your negative feelings about your marriage are rooted in coronavirus stress. But if you’ve decided that divorce during the pandemic is the only way forward, it doesn’t necessarily do much good to put it off.
Ultimately, no one knows how long the pandemic will continue or how many waves there will be in the future; if you’re miserable now, those issues aren’t going to magically disappear as businesses start to reopen.
Final Thoughts on Divorce During the Pandemic
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to take care of ourselves in order to care for others. And for some, dissolving a marriage and going ahead with divorce during the pandemic, might be the best way to accomplish that.