divorce during pandemic

With the COVID 19 orders requiring shelter-in-place and self-quarantine many people are going to realize that their marriage is simply not working.  Sure, they were aware before COVID 19 that things were not great, but now they are going to have time to reflect on whether the relationship should continue.  Below are five things you should know about filing for a divorce during a pandemic.

  1. You are not alone

Two things are likely to happen because of this pandemic, a baby boom and a rise in divorces.  We normally see a rise in divorces after holidays and the reasons for a rise apply even more during this pandemic.  The reasons there are:

  1. people spend a lot of time together,
  2. there is more stress than normal and
  3. time to reflect on whether the relationship is working.

During this pandemic people are not just spending a lot of time together, they are spending ALL of their time together.  This is difficult to do.  Further, people CAN’T get away from each other.   If the marriage was not working well before the pandemic, it is unlikely the marriage is going to survive the pandemic.

Many of you may already be at a breaking point.  If you are at a breaking point there are things you can do.

  1. Counseling is an Option

If the two of you can have productive conversation now is a great time to set aside time to discuss what is not working and see if you can get a plan in place to work on those issues.  Marriage counseling can help the conversation and solutions to be productive.  There are many counselors that are conducting therapy sessions virtually.  Even if your spouse will not agree to counseling you can schedule individual counseling with a therapist to help you cope with the stress of this situation.

  1. Meet with a Lawyer

If your marriage is beyond repair and you know that divorce is the answer, you do not have to wait to file your divorce.  We are conducting consultations virtually.  We can even get your divorce on file and begin working on resolution and settlement.

The Courts are only partially closed, but they are still conducting necessary hearings virtually.  Further, there are a number of ways for us to get you divorced without the necessity of a court hearing.  The courts have made much of the process easier during this pandemic and some of it actually saves clients time and money.

Getting started now will get you in line for a court hearing, if needed.  It normally takes a while to get a hearing or a trial, and with the limited capacity of the courts that wait to get into court is getting longer with each day that the pandemic continues.  It is anticipated that the wait time after courts fully open will be a LOT longer than it was before the pandemic.  If you get started now, you will be able to get on the court’s docket before the courts are any further backlogged.

  1. Mediation is Very Effective

Mediation has always been utilized in divorces to reach agreements when informal negotiations were not able to resolve the issues.  Although we generally start with informal settlement negotiations first, we can get into mediation rather quickly to resolve the issues if informal settlement has not resolved the issues.

Courts require parties to attend mediation before they can take a day of the court’s time with a trial.  The reason mediation has always been utilized is because it is VERY EFFECTIVE.  Mediation settles about 85% of divorce cases.  This helps the courts keep their dockets to a manageable number of trials and it helps people avoid the expense and nastiness of a trial.

During this pandemic mediation is being used for a number of other reasons as well.  It can take months to get into a court for a hearing and closer to a year to get a trial.  No one even knows yet how much longer the wait will be to get a court date for hearings or trial after things return to normal, but it will be longer.  Mediation can be scheduled sometimes within weeks or even days and will probably settle the case.

Mediation is less stressful than a trial because you are not cross examined, you do not have to see your spouse during the mediation, and you have some control over how things are resolved.  Mediators have the ability to craft a unique settlement for your unique situation.  Once a mediated settlement agreement is reached it is not only binding on the parties, but it is binding on the courts.

  1. Divorces are Being Granted Right Now

You do NOT have to wait until the pandemic is over to get a divorce.  Although we are doing many procedures differently, divorces are still being granted right now.  Often, we are able to get your divorce processed quicker and cheaper than usual.  Call today to speak with an experienced divorce attorney that is ready to help you today.