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How will the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders impact divorce?

| May 26, 2020 | Firm News |

Life has certainly changed since mid-March, when most Californians began staying at home except to get necessary provisions because of the spreading coronavirus. With the state’s shelter-in-place order continuing most likely throughout the summer, many marriages have become strained under the pressure of couples spending so much time together. Many experts are predicting that in the latter half of 2020, thousands of couples will file for divorce because of the pandemic.

The added marital stress of a pandemic

Here are some reasons why couples may be facing a split sooner rather than later:

  1. Parents have had a more than full plate, trying to keep up with working at home and overseeing their children’s distance learning. The added stress has led to more arguments and conflict.
  2. Those who now are unemployed because of the recent economic downturn now have financial woes adding to their marital stress.
  3. Domestic violence incidents have increased during the lockdown, which could increase divorce filings when restrictions begin lifting.
  4. Partners see the pandemic differently. One wants to follow all the shelter-in-place rules, complete regular disinfecting of their home and not risk unnecessary virus exposure. The other partner is tired of all the restrictions and no longer wants to follow them.
  5. Partners are spending an extreme amount of time together, without regular contact with other friends. The flaws that already bothered them about their spouse become magnified, causing more frustration and arguments.

The slowing divorce process

Going through a divorce always has been a lengthy process, sometimes taking 18 months to complete. Because of courts shutting down for months to limit the spread of COVID-19, now the divorce process will take even longer. Couples who file for divorce may have to wait three to four months just to get a court hearing.

That’s why if you are facing divorce during this time, you need to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you begin negotiating with your spouse about asset division and child custody. The more you and your spouse can agree on outside of court, the more you quickly you can resolve your divorce and move on to the next chapter of your life.