The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the quarantine led families to spend more time together at home, it also paved the way for tensions and stress. From remote working, homeschooling, and unemployment, the pandemic has interrupted almost every part of our lives, forcing families to face unique challenges of the ‘new normal’.
The stay-at-home order is likely one of the biggest causes of the rising cases of divorce in the U.S. Due to the extensive lockdown period, couples living together were forced to engage and interact, giving them more time to take a good look at their partner’s emotional, physical, and financial state. This allows them to confront subjects or address issues they used to avoid in normal circumstances.
As the pandemic drives couples to seek help or file for divorce, there’s been a talk that family law attorneys and relationship experts will spike after the pandemic. With divorce rates rising, couples should know their options for continuing separation during the pandemic. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various impacts of COVID-19 on relationships and marriages and what couples should expect when filing a divorce during the pandemic.
COVID-19 wreaking havoc on marriages
Every relationship involves varying degrees of conflict, and it’s not surprising why more marriage partners are facing relationship issues during these uncertain times. From the financial uncertainty to health threats, these marital stressors are further amplified because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For couples living under one roof, the pandemic shock led to minor arguments that resulted in major fights within the household. Meanwhile, the lockdown has unveiled deeper issues among married couples, giving them time to reflect on their options for separation.
Relationship experts constantly rank boredom, financial stress, and disagreements about household chores and parenting as the common causes of relationship conflicts. From homeschooling kids, staying indoors, and facing financial uncertainty, the pandemic has incurred additional tension on relationships.
When facing conflicts in the relationship, seeking support is necessary. But because of movement restrictions, support systems are almost impossible to access. Talking to family members or friends is out of the picture. People who have a habit of reaching out to their loved ones to deal with stress and avoid problems will likely find themselves in a difficult situation as they have to face the issue alone.
Although the pandemic provides couples more time to tackle substantive issues in their marriage, they should also treat it as a turning point to refocus their relationship values and clarify the most ideal path if they’re planning to separate.
Divorce rates during the pandemic
During the first months of 2020, experts predicted a surge in divorce rates after the pandemic. But the prediction seems to come early this 2021. According to New York Post, the number of people filing for divorce rose by 34% from March to June 2020 compared to last year. The newlyweds took the hardest hit with 20% of couples filing for divorce who were married for less than five months.
Relationship experts predict that divorce rates will continue to rise in the succeeding months. While couples are trying their best to respond to the current crisis, others are likely to suffer from depression and disillusionment in the process. So when negative emotions settle in, couples will eventually struggle.
Experts say that people suffering from severe stress caused by external factors are likely to struggle more when addressing problems in the relationship. In times of conflict, the person will unconsciously displace their stress and anger towards their partner. This can result in domestic violence if the person fails to address the problem early on.
Filing a divorce
Despite social distancing orders and court closures, couples can still pursue separation by filing for divorce. Legal practitioners can reach out to their clients through online communication channels. Negotiations and remote court appearances are also possible through videoconferencing applications.
Many states today are making it possible to conduct remote video hearings so the judge can decide on ongoing cases. You can also submit documents digitally through email and contactless drop boxes. Although the legal process may seem different, legal practitioners can still accomplish legal matters as they used to in normal circumstances.
Unfortunately, couples may expect the process to take longer than usual because of the limitations in conducting court hearings. When it comes to asset division, evaluating and distributing assets will be more challenging because of the financial circumstances presented by the pandemic.
Planning to end a marriage is difficult, especially with the pandemic going on. But there are plenty of options available to enter the divorce process during a pandemic. You can start by finding a trusted divorce lawyer to make sure the case will be a less daunting process for you and your family.