2020 will go down in history, among other distinctions, as a year of reinvention. Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, everyday life drastically changed. Before March 2020, it was unthinkable that we would:
- Wear masks (maybe even double mask!) whenever we were out,
- Attend school and work exclusively from home,
- ‘Zoom’ for everything from work and school meetings to book clubs and social hours with friends,
- Ask our children to spend more time on their devices,
- Dine out almost exclusively outdoors,
- Accept ‘drive by’ birthday parties as the norm, and
- Skip work, family, and friend holiday parties!
It is not hard to imagine why after spending 24/7 time with family has created a surge in divorce conversations and filings. In many cases, the increased ‘closeness’ exposed marital relationship problems with no way to escape.
Divorcing during a Pandemic
If there was tension in your life before the pandemic, it is likely that is increased during the past year. If you’re considering how to best navigate and evaluate a potential divorce, start here
- Determine if divorce is your best option: This sounds obvious, but particularly if your family tensions began during the pandemic, make sure that divorce is your best and only option. You can change course after you begin the divorce process but discerning now can save money and emotion (for all involved). If you haven’t already, talk with an individual, couples or discernment counselor.
- Choose a divorce process that fits your family’s needs: If decreasing stress, creating a more positive future for your children, and avoiding court all sound like good ideas to you, you owe it to your family to check out your divorce process options. Attend an online Divorce Process Option Workshop to learn about your options from compassionate and experienced local professionals.
- Consult with more than one divorce professional: The professional(s) you choose can make all the difference in the time, money, and emotion you and your family spend during your divorce. Consider all your options, including filing an annulment, post-nuptial agreement, legal separation, or standard divorce.
- Be prepared for COVID-19 divorce challenges: Just as COVID has turned your life upside down, divorcing during a pandemic has changed formerly routine tasks, like face-to-face meetings, court access, relocating, and even privacy, into potential landmines. These changes mean finding new ways to stay safe while moving forward. In most cases, this means meeting virtually.
- Stay flexible and hopeful (and online): Despite our new normal, restructuring your marriage through the pandemic is possible and maybe even more efficient. Although pre-pandemic, professionals preferred meeting in person, many agree that meeting online (even with the occasional technology glitch) has its advantages:
- Online meetings often get more issues resolved in less time,
- Online allows you to discuss sensitive concerns, and agreements in creative ways without being in the same room,
- Less tension typically means less time in meetings (and less money),
- Online meetings eliminate travel time, traffic concerns and in many cases, allow you to take less time off work for meetings,
- Most online meeting platforms allow you to private message your attorney and/or caucus (privately meet) in a breakout room during the meeting.
If now is the time to restructure your marriage, feel confident that, with the correct process and mindset it is possible. Contact us to discuss how mediation or Collaborative Family Law can help your family create a more peaceful divorce solution.