For some couples, the pandemic and sheltering in place has minimized opportunities to “blow off steam.”
One challenging obstacle during coronavirus is the possible social isolation many are feeling. Most of us are working at home; some in small socially distanced groups in offices. But nevertheless, our social lives have been minimized and that is not even taking into account any anxiety or discomfort we may be feeling for our family and loved ones. We don’t have our family social circles functioning at the same capacity. It may be more difficult to find support and distraction with our friends and family.
According to neuropsychologist, Dr. Sanam Hafeez, she has been hearing the word “divorce” more and more over the summer. “Some couples just couldn’t sweep it under the rug anymore,” she reported to publication NY1, referring to her clients who were unable to dissipate their stress during the lockdown by going to work, seeing friends, or just getting some air and space for themselves.
Dr. Hafeez feels that some of her patients knew something was off at the core of their marriage. But with the pandemic settling in, certain problems and issues could no longer be swept aside. Things for some couples just got worse since Covid-19 started last spring.
According to Buncher Family Law partner and certified family law specialist, Lauren Mullee, “We’ve seen an increase in inquiries not only about divorce, but related situations such as shared custody, and questions about modifying child and/or spousal support. Most of those individuals appear to have meritorious cases. However, there are some people who are using COVID-19 as an opportunity or excuse to seek to decrease support…or increase it as the case may be. These issues can be complex, and it is smart to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to fully understand your rights and options.”
One thing which couples contemplating divorce should be aware of is that they do not have to wait until life returns to “normal” before filing for divorce. Couples can file at any time. While many court appearances are being held virtually at this time, due Covid-19, the courts are still open and conducting business.
And if the spouses agree on primary issues such as finances and custody issues, there are options available to complete divorces through mediation. Most mediations are conducted virtually at this time via Zoom or other online platforms. As with all marital dissolutions, a financial analysis of joint accounts, property and other holdings will need to be explored. And of course, if children are involved, custody and support issues will need to be clarified. Experienced family law attorneys can guide clients through this type of divorce and help couples find common ground.
The bottom line is that if you or your spouse are contemplating a divorce at this time, you have options. Consider consulting with an attorney to discuss what might be the best strategy for your situation. The attorneys at Buncher Family Law offer a Clear Path Strategy Meeting to help you figure out how you move toward a new beginning.