How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Divorces
Married couples across the country are sheltering at home with one another, or abiding by stay-home orders that limit their time outside the house. For many spouses in Florida, spending a significant amount of time with one another is putting a strain on the marriage. Whether those married couples were already having problems prior to the pandemic or not, a recent report from ABC News suggests that courts across the country are likely to see a “surge” in divorce filings once stay-home orders are lifted and people return to some sense of normalcy. At the same time, as more people may be filing for divorce. A recent article in The New York Times suggests that divorces are getting significantly delayed due to the coronavirus, and courts may see a substantial backlog once they reopen for non-emergency family law hearings.
If you have questions about filing for divorce in Orlando, or if you want to know how to modify an existing family law order for child support or alimony given the economic effects of the pandemic, it is important to speak with an experienced Orlando divorce attorney about your situation. In the meantime, we want to say more about some of these COVID-related divorce issues arising in Florida and across the country.
More People May File for Divorce After the Pandemic Closures End
According to the ABC News report, “a wave of divorce filings is expected to break across the country when COVID-19 confinement ends.” The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers indicated that spouses are angry about being confined with one another, and many are planning to file for divorce when they are able to do so. For some of these couples, the possibility of divorce was already discussed, and one of the parties may have even been planning to begin the separation process when quarantines and lockdowns occurred. For other couples, however, seemingly minor relationship problems prior to the pandemic have turned into major marital difficulties, and spouses are thinking about their options for ending the relationship.
As the report underscores, “tension bred by forced proximity is only one reason cited for a spike in divorce after the COVID-19 crisis.” Another potential reason for a rise in divorce filings is that spouses are realizing how short life can be, and that it is important to make the most of the time they have. Accordingly, some of those parties may be realizing that it does not make sense to remain in an unhappy marriage. The article highlights how, as a result of the pandemic, “people are coming to terms with their mortality and want to make positive changes in their lives.”
In addition, many married couples are experiencing significant financial stress tied to COVID-related job loss. For many of these couples, financial problems combined with other tensions have become too much to bear. Although divorce rates in the U.S. have been on a general decline over the last decade, it is possible that we will see a reversal of that trend.
Divorce is Taking More Time
Beyond the anticipated flood of divorce filings, the article in The New York Times underscores how the pandemic has slowed the divorce process for many people. With courts closed to all but emergency or essential matters, many divorces have been in a holding pattern. Once those courts do reopen, couples may need to anticipate delays as a result of a backlog of cases.
To be clear, it is possible that we could see substantially more divorce filings, with slower rates of getting through those divorce cases.
Contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney
Do you have questions about filing for divorce or moving forward with your case? An experienced Orlando divorce attorney can help. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today.