The current health crisis and quarantine are wreaking havoc on many marriages across the country. Stay at home orders can bring up tensions that can otherwise be swept under the emotional rug under normal circumstances. But this time around, people are living in constant close quarters, and for some, that tension is finally ready to burst. It can be hard for people who are used to having some of their time to themselves to suddenly always be sharing their personal space with a spouse. This can cause problems in even the happiest marriages.
While tension caused by proximity is the leading cause of people choosing to file for divorce, other factors may play a role in a spouse’s decisions to move on. Being confronted with the mortality of a global pandemic forces many people to reckon with the fact that they won’t live forever, ultimately leading to the decision to leave unhappy relationships. Many are evaluating how they are living their lives and choosing to be proactive about making positive changes.
In China, the number of divorce filings soared post-quarantine as society began to reopen. Many are predicting that this trend will occur in the U.S. as well. While many court functions are still limited due to the pandemic, spouses may still file for divorce through a local family court.
You should consider several important factors before deciding whether to divorce during or post-quarantine. The timelines for separation and divorce have been affected by stay-at-home orders. Some courts are not open for full operations, so some legal matters are being handled remotely. In Georgia, you can still file for divorce or finalize a marriage dissolution that started before or during quarantine.
“While the process of filing for and finalizing a divorce may be delayed, it is still possible in quarantine,” says Attorney Sara Khaki of the Atlanta Divorce Law Group. “While living with a spouse in close proximity due to isolation, it could be a good time to discuss how to proceed with a pending or potential divorce case. This time could be used to negotiate a settlement agreement, which could, in turn, shorten the process outside of the mandatory waiting period and simplify other elements. Having some decisions made beforehand can make negotiations easier.”
Gather your relevant financial information together during this extra time at home. While meeting with an attorney in person may not be possible at this time, video conferencing and phone calls are available to keep your case moving forward. Meeting with a lawyer to ask about how to prepare and gather documents during quarantine could help facilitate a smoother process as the courts adjust to a new normal as they continue to move cases towards finalization. This can include planning out a budget for expenses such as housing, food, and transportation. Giving these and similar issues some thought prior to filing for divorce is a good way to ease pressure during the process.
This is also a time when spouses can think about plans for their kids and property. What schedule may work best for the kids? Will you keep the home or sell it and both move to different houses? If spouses are able to have these discussions early on in the divorce process, it can be easier in the long run for everyone involved.
Having to live in such close quarters to someone you want to divorce from can be incredibly stressful and emotionally taxing. Take some time to think about how quarantine can be used to both of your advantages if you are on the same page about divorcing. If the discussion of separation has not come up yet, use this time to get ahead and have all of your ducks in a row.