The most unfortunate part of the coronavirus pandemic has been the deaths associated with people becoming ill. Without a doubt, we have seen some degree of excess death above what we would have come to expect in a “normal” year. It is one thing for us to talk about those deaths as statistics, but it is quite another thing to talk about them if you have a loved one who fell ill and passed away. On behalf of our entire office, if you are a friend or family member of someone who is passed due to the Coronavirus, our most sincere condolences go out to you and your loved ones. It cannot be easy two hear about the deaths associated with the virus, especially when you know one of those people very well.
Since early March, preventing people from getting sick and dying from coronavirus has been our nation’s number one objective. The degree to which we have succeeded at this endeavor has appeared to increase over time. It seems that better treatments, more preparation, and even a change in the virus itself have contributed to this trend. People are still wisely taking precautions, but my feeling is that there is not as much trepidation or fear around most places in our area as there was in March or April. It may just be that many of us are just used to the feel of living in a pandemic and are more comfortable going about our lives as typically as possible.
The deaths associated with the virus are one thing, but the collateral damage from the virus is something else altogether. If you look at the group of people, for instance, who suffered the most excess deaths of any age group, it has been those between the ages of 25 and 44. You can go to the Center for Disease Control and look at their statistics for excess death and see that this group of young people suffered to such a large extent, not necessarily because of the virus directly. Instead, this group suffered what is likely going to be deaths by despair disproportionate to their actual risk of severe illness or death due to the virus itself.
Different people will classify a death by despair in another way. Still, I would tell you that death by despair is deaths related to mental impairments in problems associated with job loss, fear of becoming ill, loneliness, isolation, and things of that nature. These are people who lost employment because of the government-mandated lockdowns, lost family members, and became sad at the thought of themselves or someone else they know getting sick, or people who could not adapt to the rapid changes in society since the beginning of March. These deaths by despair contributed heavily to the overall numbers of people who can be said to have passed away due to this virus.
Our country in our world was indeed in an unenviable position in the early parts of this year. Government leaders in health officials had to balance the need for society to March on as best possible with the need to protect its citizens, especially those most vulnerable to a virus like this. If he asked many government leaders, they would change the way they did things from the beginning part of the pandemic until where we are right now. However, they will not be able to go back to change any other actions, and the lives that have been lost could be argued as evidence that mistakes were made along the way.
The harm brought about by the pandemic and our response to it ventures well beyond the total number of deaths or excess deaths. In the world of Texas family law, our office in other law practices has seen a dramatic increase in the number of divorces that have been filed. This is true in Southeast Texas and across the state, across the country, and worldwide. These are divorces that may well have occurred at some point in the future, but the fact that we have been ordered to remain at home for the most part very much speed up the process by which these divorces were filed, in my opinion. People came face to face daily with the problems in their marriage, and many were ill-equipped to respond positively to them.
As a result, more practices such as ours are busier than average in representing people interested in going through a divorce. The courts in Harris County and throughout Texas are primarily running at average processing speeds, unlike the beginning parts of this pandemic. In other words, if you want to get a divorce in Texas, you can proceed at full steam ahead with few limitations to your ending a marriage. For some of you, this may be necessary, but you may be able to avoid this fate for others.
I want to discuss with you today how domestic violence has become an increasing factor in divorces but to begin with; I would like to discuss how you and your spouse can avoid getting a divorce in the 1st place. If you sense that anger and hostility have become two relevant to your family, you will especially want to pay close attention to what we discussed today. I want to think that much of the advice I give to you will be helpful and my moving this sort of hostility in a relationship that can lead to violence and eventually divorce.
Let me begin by telling you that none of what I tell you today or suggest to you in this blog post takes the place of keeping yourself, and your family protected in an immediate sense. Yes, I would like to think that the information I provide is helpful on a general level to helping avoid Intermarriage disputes and problems that can lead to violence, abuse, or divorce. However, I’m not operating under the assumption that these words can replace a solid plan to keep your family safe if violence occurs in the home. There are many resources out there for you to take advantage of learning about how to keep your family safe from domestic or family violence. It would help if you made yourself aware of those recommendations and put practical measures in your own home to help keep everyone safe during these times.
Identify problems in a marriage and becoming intentional about solving them.
I will tell people quite frequently that it is undoubtedly possible to wander your way into a divorce. This is true whether or not you are the party who files for divorce. Either way, an interest in solving the problems of your marriage can lead to you either having to respond to a divorce petition or can lead to you filing for divorce in the 1st place. Either way, you will find that you will need to become intentional at some point in your life when it comes to the problems in your marriage period; you can either become intentional about solving those problems before divorce becomes necessary, or you will need to become intentional about solving the issues within a divorce so that your marriage can come to an end sooner rather than later.
Let’s approach this issue proactively and create a plan for you to be intentional about saving your marriage. For most of us, the problems in our marriage can be solved with communication. At this point, we have to pause and determine the degree to which you can communicate with your spouse. Some of the problems in your marriage can be solved by direct communication beginning right now. Ironically, it is possible to feel alone or isolated even when you are married and even when you spend a great deal of physical time with your spouse. If you all are not connecting emotionally, you can feel distant from your spouse even if they are in the same room as you.
If this describes your situation, you and your spouse need to take time out from your day to spend together talking about whatever you are interested in or doing. Marriage counselors will recommend marriage counselors at the beginning of counseling sessions if two begin to create a household budget or develop projects to complete with their spouse. For instance, if your house has never been on a budget before, you should make one starting now. There will be challenges associated with doing this, but in creating a budget, you and your spouse are essentially forcing yourselves to work together on a common goal. This can go a long way towards rebuilding a connection that may have been lost over time.
Another way to rebuild broken bonds of intimacy with your spouse is to think up a common goal or a project that needs to be completed and then create the steps necessary to achieve that goal. These can be goals to organize your home, make a simple repair in the house, or relate to your children. For instance, last year, my wife and I had a goal to get our daughter reading by turning four years old. Her birthday is in December, so in August, we began working on a lesson book showing her the basics of reading. We were both committed to the project and worked with our daughter daily to achieve this goal. By the time her birthday came around in December, our little one could read primary children’s storybooks, and she had improved by leaps and bounds throughout this year.
My point is, you and your spouse do not need to be completely comfortable with talking through your feelings and emotions to save your marriage from the brink of divorce. On the contrary, all you need to do is show some willingness to connect with them through the completion of a project, a household budget, or something similar. These are convenient steps that you can take to benefit your household and help you all build strong bonds in your marriage. Of course, you can open utile eyes to your own experiences in your wedding to build bonds whichever way you see fit. However, the patient has to be the first step in that process.
Learning to communicate with the assistance of a counselor or therapist
On the other hand, your marriage may require more hands-on assistance from someone other than yourself or your spouse. The problems in your marriage may go beyond a loss of communication skills or even ambivalence towards the relationship. You may have experienced some degree of infidelity, be it physical or financial, or may even have experienced violence within the marriage. These are difficult situations that can undoubtedly lead directly to divorce. With that said, working with a marriage counselor or therapist may be beneficial on several levels.
As discussed earlier in today’s blog post, one of the side effects of being at home more this year than ever has been that spouses have nowhere to escape when problems are ongoing in the marriage. This can be both a good and bad thing. It is a good thing in that you cannot suppress the apparent signs of a problem in a marriage and are therefore more likely to take action to improve your marriage period; on the downside, if the issues in your marriage become physical or relate to violence, it is more likely that you will become a victim of violence or will perpetrate violence upon your spouse.
How can you overcome these problems? I will write the remaining portion of today’s blog post from the perspective of you as the spouse who has been the victim of violence. The reason for this is that I can relate to you what I have learned from other people as far as practical tools to keep yourself in your family safe. This can be step-by-step instructions and information that will help you develop a plan to keep yourself safe. From my perspective, it makes more sense to write this way than to attempt to analyze an abusive spouse’s thoughts. However, if you are a person who has a history of abusing your spouse, That is absolutely something that you need to seek treatment and help for immediately.
If you become concerned about being abused by your spouse, you should take some immediate precautions to keep yourself safe and perhaps even leave home if necessary. In the world of Child Protective Services, the state agency and the parents of an abused or neglected child will develop a safety plan. This safety plan will discuss how the parties involved will work to create a safe environment at home for the children to reunify with their parents. For you in an abusive marriage, the safety plan most seeks to do some of the same things.
The first thing I would do if you are being abused is to make sure you and your children are safe. Despite the ongoing pandemic, there are shelters and other places for you to turn if you need to leave home. You should have a list of these places ready and have been in contact with them previously about the availability of a site for you and your family to stay on a short-term basis. In the alternative, you should make sure that you have people in your life who are aware of your circumstances and who may be willing to lend a hand to provide you shelter and protection on a short-term basis.
Next, I would always keep a bag of clothes, essentials, and personal items ready to go if a situation at home becomes violent. This also means that car keys should be prominent where you can take any spare set prepared if need be. Make sure that your car is always fueled up and that your children are prepared to leave at the drop of a hat. If the situation becomes severe enough, you should practice going home with your kids just as you would practice leaving the house in the event of a fire.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and the services that our office came provide to you as a client of ours.