Healthy Divorce During the Pandemic

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Divorce during the pandemic can be messy. Whether you and your partner decided on getting a divorce before the pandemic or during, the forced quarantine could take a toll on your family and comfortability. Divorcing in the time of COVID-19 brings additional challenges to an already difficult process. On top of having to settle matters with your partner, you may also have to worry about your kids remote learning, the transition of working from home, job insecurity, or even the wellbeing of friends and family. With courts across the country limiting their operations, divorce may take months to finalize, so it is important to learn how to manage these challenges and still have an amicable divorce in the end.

General Guidelines

Although it may seem to last forever, the pandemic is temporary and will vanish eventually.  Until that point, your goal should be to simply survive quarantine with your partner rather than changing them or making any final agreements. During this emotionally draining time, focus on promoting your wellbeing and avoid unnecessary conflict or interactions with your partner. Self-care is one of the best ways to improve your mood, so taking breaks, meditating, and exercising are just some of the things you can do to help yourself. It is also appropriate to prepare for the divorce independently but avoid talking about the divorce with your partner or agreeing to terms and conditions without first talking to an attorney. Consult your legal team with questions you may have.

Communication Guidelines

Communication is key to a civil divorce. Especially in a situation where you and your partner are confined together, skills to improve your communication become essential. Find better ways to talk about the division of labor, parental duties, and other practical issues so that arguments do not arise. Treat each other with kindness and express verbal appreciation about what is working well. Just as talking with a roommate or neighbor, be cordial but do not speak for longer than needed; set weekly times to address significant issues and stick to those times. Discuss and create a parenting schedule for your children, allocate tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning, and determine spaces in the home each person can have to reduce friction.

Use Mediation and Collaborative Law

For the issues that cannot be solved alone, it is recommended to use mediation rather than battling it out in court. Going to court means deferring to a judge to decide on the important matters of your divorce (i.e., custody, division of assets, etc.). This often leads to more stress on the family and more animosity between you and your spouse. Alternative processes such as mediation and collaborative law can lessen the negative impact of using cooperation and compromise. Additionally, courts are backlogged with cases from COVID-19. Mediation or collaborative law eliminates the need for a judge to make decisions, allowing the divorce process to be faster and ultimately cheaper for both parties.

COVID-19 has added layers of complexity to divorce and new challenges for couples to overcome. Achieving an amicable divorce is difficult but not impossible. Communication, self-care, and mediation are key strategies for reducing animosity between parties and ease the stress on your family. 

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