Divorce during Coronavirus: Will Splits Soar after Pandemic Quarantines End?
Nashville, Tennessee, relationship coach Lee Wilson thought it was odd when one of his clients recently asked to meet with him at a golf course. Once he got there, he understood why: His client had already called a divorce lawyer. “He said, ‘I had to get away from her.’”
Just another couple driven to divorce amid quarantine tensions? Yes and no.
“At some point the comparison is to 9/11: Either (the crisis) brings them together or it makes them realize they need to get out because life is too short,” says Michelle Gervais, a family law attorney at Blank Rome LLP in Tampa, Florida. “Only the strongest relationships are going to survive.”
Is it possible quarantine stress will lead some couples to stick it out? Maybe, under the old “cheaper to keep her (or him)” theory, says Gervais.
In one of her cases, she says, the husband changed his mind about splitting once their adult children came home to quarantine as a family. “He didn’t want to be the bad guy with his kids,” she says. In another case, after the lockdown lifted, the wife could secretly leave to look for a new place to live without tipping him off or being asked where she was going.
“The two biggest indicators I’m seeing over the last three months is finances and kids being the reasons why people try to work it out,” she says. “At the same time, others are (divorcing) for those same reasons.”
Even post-quarantine, divorcing couples should be prepared for major, possibly unpleasant changes in court systems, lawyers say.
“Judges you never thought in a million years would ever do it have become super-efficient and are even teaching courses," Gervais says.
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“Divorce during Coronavirus: Will Splits Soar after Pandemic Quarantines End?” by Maria Puente was published in USA Today on June 2, 2020.