When COVID began last year, there were predictions of a big surge in divorces. The reasoning was that couples who were already experiencing problems would now be forced to spend more time together without the distraction of other people, social events, and work outside the home. That did seem to hold true for several months. However, divorce filings have fallen since then according to a recent New York Times article. Have more couples reconciled or are they just delaying divorce because of COVID?
The pandemic introduced some new challenges that may have discouraged divorce. For instance, it made it harder to find a new home and handle the logistics of moving. Childcare became more difficult for some. Sharing custody potentially increased the risk of being infected. COVID also resulted in economic uncertainty for many. At the same time, staying together especially where the couple had children may have been boon. More family time was beneficial and, in some cases, may have prompted spouses to work harder to solve their marital problems.
In some ways, COVID is similar to what happens during the holidays. Divorce rates usually go up in January. During the holidays, there is added stress and pressure and more time spent together which makes many spouses consider whether they are really happy. In some cases, they are inspired to work harder. For others, it cements their realization that it is time to separate.
If you do love your spouse and feel that you may be able to work out your problems, then you should seek the guidance of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or marriage counselor. Alternatively, if you don’t love your spouse or you have tried to resolve your issues and failed, then divorce is probably in your future. However, even if you are considering delaying divorce because of COVID, you can make good use of this time.
As I stated in the New York Times article, while you wait to get vaccinated, see what issues you can resolve on your own. This will save you a lot of money in legal fees because the more you can agree on with your spouse, the less that has to be negotiated by a lawyer or litigated in court.
Divorce is never an easy decision. COVID may have a silver lining in giving spouses more time to work out their differences which may end in reconciliation or in a quicker divorce settlement.
If you are considering separation or divorce or think that your spouse is, you should consult an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and understand how to prepare. Please contact us to learn how we can assist you in achieving a positive outcome in your case.