By SHEL SEGAL
When most people think about the pandemic’s effect on business, they think of retail stores and restaurants going under with other types of businesses barely staying afloat.
But Elizabeth Yang, a local family law attorney and president of Law & Mediation Offices of Elizabeth Yang, said business for her is up as much as 50 to 60 percent over pre-pandemic times. She added as a family law lawyer she handles divorces, child custody and support cases and even domestic restraining orders and child protective cases. She also said the pandemic has added an undue stress on many throughout Southern California.
“We see pretty much everything we see now, but now during the pandemic, everything has escalated,” said Yang, who has been a family law lawyer for 11 years. “The number of cases has increased tremendously. I think the contributing factor is that couples are locked down together, spending way more time together than they’re used to. On top of that you add in the financial stresses, unemployment, the kids being at home. So, now everyone is just on edge, and we’ve been getting a lot of calls from couples with relationship issues from adults who are asking advice on how to get a divorce.”
And despite seeing her share of divorces over the years and especially during the past 12 months, Yang said it is definitely something that does not bring her joy.
“My basic advice would be to solve the relationship issues before they get to the divorce point,” she said. “That’s not typical advice you’d hear from a divorce attorney, but I would rather have the marriage work out and have happy people in this world than have unhappy people fighting in court.”
And in an effort to avoid divorce altogether, Yang said she recommends couples in strife take the five love languages test, adding learning about it is just as simple as doing a google search.
“If they go take that test they can find out what their love language is,” she said. “It could be quality time. It could be acts of services. It could be words of acknowledgement. The other two are physical touch and gifts. Everyone’s got a top love language, so if they can figure out what their spouse or partner’s love language is then it could help prevent some of these domestic troubles from arising.”
But if divorce cannot be avoided, Yang said the couple still needs to act civilly and hopefully be able to communicate with one another. If communication breaks down, she added, it can get really messy, really fast.
“If they can at least communicate or at least communicate differences and agree on leaving the marriage and agree on the terms, then it can be a really simple, uncontested divorce,” Yang said. “But if they can’t communicate and they need an attorney to communicate every single sentence, that’s when it gets really expensive. And sometimes they don’t even listen to the attorney and they need a judge to make orders. Then it gets even more expensive.”
Making divorces even more difficult is when children are involved, Yang said. But she added Covid has made a tough situation even tougher in regards to custody cases.
“It definitely is messier because than you have the issue of child custody, child support, where do they go to school, all those issues,” she said. “And during Covid there are all kinds of rules and restrictions on who the children can have access to. I’ve had parents say, ‘The other parent goes out too much and sees too many people outside of the house. So, I don’t want my child spending time over there.’ And other parents have said, ‘I haven’t tested positive, so how can you keep my kids away from me?’ We’ve seen a lot of these situations.”
If you would like to discuss any aspect of Family Law, please phone Law & Mediation Offices of Elizabeth Yang at (877) or log onto http://www.yanglawoffices.com.