The “surge” is not only happening with regard to COVID-19. According to data from around the country, the number of people seeking or planning for a divorce now or in the near future has significantly increased. Many speculate that the stress of too much time together, learning perhaps too much about a spouse, having to co-parent constantly, and having economic and emotional issues has pushed marriages over the brink.
If you find yourself in this category, before rushing to a lawyer, keep these tips in mind.
First, gather together critical documents. You will need a clear picture of your finances and your property to present to your attorney, so pull copies of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements, mortgage bills – all asset and liability material. You will want to go back at least three years.
Second, do not be afraid to seek assistance with the stress. Whether you see a therapist, a psychiatrist, or your internist, you should definitely make sure you are in good physical and mental shape before making such a life-altering decision.
Third, you need to prepare for life during and after divorce. This will require extensive budgeting, determining what you can and cannot afford, what your spouse can and cannot afford, and what your absolute necessities will cost during and after divorce. From these budget facts, you can begin to build your post-divorce future without scary financial surprises or disasters.
Fourth, work on controlling emotions and normalizing behavior. Think of yourself always on camera, and you do not want any video of you behaving poorly that your spouse could use against you in court. Act as politely and cooperatively as possible, particularly whenever the children are present or involved. For the sake of the children, keep issues about the divorce away from them. If they seem to have difficulty in the transition, consult with your spouse, and find a suitable counselor.
Finally, try to avoid the input of family and friends. Everyone will have an opinion, and many will have stories of their own divorces. But remember, no two divorces are alike and you need to keep in mind what is best for you and your children. When unsure, consult with your attorney.
In challenging times, being prepared can definitely help keep you one step ahead of a difficult process.
If you have questions about divorce and COVID-19, contact us – we can help.