COVID-19 is not just impacting how we co-parent. It’s having undeniable effects on the divorce process.
Social distancing and isolation measures have put an unusual degree of strain on marriages. The inability to see extended family, to have a drink with friends, or even just spend some time alone can create tension in the happiest households. For couples already considering divorce, COVID shines a light on the doubts, faults, and fights. Some have posited that individuals in unfulfilling unions are also second-guessing because COVID has forced them to confront their own mortality and cast their future in uncertainty. Attorney Josh Katz, co-chair of the Family Law Committee of the Queens County Bar Association in New York, describes quarantine as a “pressure cooker” for families on the verge of a split. COVID divorces are expected to surge as a result.
Even more concerning is the impact of quarantine on those experiencing domestic violence within their marriages. Described as the “invisible pandemic” by experts at the Council on Foreign Relations, domestic violence reports across the globe have seen a rise over the past few months.
Due to the above factors, many people feel even more trapped in an unhappy marriage than they did pre-COVID. The good news is that divorce proceedings are still happening. Though it may seem as if courtrooms being closed would bring the divorce process to a screeching halt, online divorces conducted over Zoom (and similar platforms) act as a safe alternative to in-person hearings. And, to avoid any delays that COVID might cause in the courts, some suggest mediation or collaborative divorce. COVID divorces may look a little different from what we are used to, but they are just as effective.
If you are seeking divorce and looking for an attorney who can help you navigate divorce, custody, and support issues during the era of COVID, give us a call. We are here to help.
Kaelynn Stewart is Campaign Coordinator at Held Law Firm.