The pandemic’s effect on couples and how to avoid divorce in these times

As the pandemic continues to rage on with no definitive end in sight, we have all seen its effect on putting dozens upon dozens of businesses under with many others just barely surviving.

But what many haven’t realized – or are just starting to realize – is the effect COVID-19 has had on relationships.

I know this firsthand. Business for the Law and Mediation Offices of Elizabeth Yang is up as much as much as 50 to 60 percent over pre-pandemic times. As a family law attorney I handle divorce, child custody and support cases and even domestic restraining orders and child protective cases. And the pandemic has added an undue stress on everyone.

The pandemic has seen cases escalate across the board. I think the contributing factor is that couples have been 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.

I definitely do not find joy in finding a lot of unhappy people out there. I do have basic advice for people who are finding trouble within their family structure. My basic advice would be to solve the relationship issues before they get to the divorce point.

I know that’s easier said than done and it’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.

But there is something real you can do to avoid divorce. If you’re having trouble in your marriage I recommend you and your partner take the “five love languages test.” Learning about it is just as simple as doing a Google search.

If you go take that test you can find out what your love language is and what your partner’s love language is. It could be quality time. It could be acts of service. It could be words of acknowledgement. The other two are physical touch and gifts. Everyone’s got a top love language, so if you can figure out what your or partner’s love language is, then it could help prevent some of these domestic troubles from arising.

But if divorce cannot be avoided, please remember the number one thing is that you and now your former partner still need to act civilly and hopefully be able to communicate with one another. If communication breaks down it can get really messy, really fast.

If you 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. But if you can’t communicate with your ex and you need an attorney to communicate every single sentence, that’s when it gets really expensive.

Often it gets worse from there. I’ve had clients that don’t even listen to me or another attorney and that person needs a judge to make orders. Then it gets even more expensive.

One more complicating factor: Divorces even more difficult is when children are involved. And COVID-19 has made a tough situation even tougher in regard to custody cases.

With the issue of child custody you discuss child support, where will the child live, where will they go to school, all those issues. 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?’ I’ve seen a lot of these situations.

The main thing for those going through a divorce is remembering to act thoughtfully and rationally and remember there is no winner here. The only way to win is to act civilly.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of Family Law, please phone Law & Mediation Offices of Elizabeth Yang at (877) 492-6452 or log onto www.yanglawoffices.com.