Divorce During a Pandemic: Emotional and Social Ramifications

We have seen quite a bit of change in our lives since the beginning of this pandemic. It is anyone’s guess how quickly, or if ever, things will begin to return to normal. I don’t think any of us would hope that the way things are now will be the way things end up being for the foreseeable future, but unfortunately, that is not our decision to make. Instead, we have to live our lives as best we can and see where things go from here. Fortunately for us, if you seek a divorce during this pandemic, you have a lot more control over your circumstances than any of us seeking to control a virus.

From the beginning of this pandemic, we knew that certain things would not be the same as long as the virus stood to make people ill. We immediately saw significant restrictions in terms of our physical movement, our ability to congregate in groups, and even the way interact with each other on a micro-level. Requirements and mandates that we would have previously believed to be completely outlandish are now generally accepted. I don’t know how long this will last, but we seem to be willing to take steps to defeat a common enemy for now.

Every action we take in response to this virus has side impacts on areas of our lives that are readily seen and less readily seen. For example, when people were told to stay home and avoid going out into public at the beginning of this pandemic, we saw perhaps the most significant economic contraction of our lives. The sheer number of jobs that were lost is nearly unfathomable. Many of these jobs will never come back, and entire segments of the economy have been damaged, perhaps in ways where they will be unable to recover. Remember how much fun going to a movie could be? Well, that is no longer in the cards for most people, and those businesses are beginning to realize this. Seeing a film in public is likely going to be a thing of the past.

Likewise, a certain stigma exists around doing something as simple as going to a restaurant or a bar. Activities that were commonplace and completely benign have transformed into miniature political statements that people use to judge how concerned you are with the pandemic and how closely you follow the norms of social distancing and other behaviors. Like it or not, when we are told to act a certain way by the government, there are certainly among us who will follow those norms completely, many who will follow some but not all, and some yet who will completely ignore the standards set forth. This isn’t unique to human beings in 2020, but it exists in human nature. We need only look at the constant reminders on the freeway to buckle our seatbelts to know that some people are more challenging to convince than others.

Overall, we can take solace in things in our lives that we have maintained and look ahead to a more positive future. Well, we don’t know what the future looks like or what it holds for all of us; the reality is that there are parts of our lives that we can control a lot better than how a virus spreads. One of those areas is the decision to get divorced or not. Should the pandemic prevent you from filing for divorce? What steps can you take to get divorced and remain safe when our health is still a massive concern of most people?

What are the social impacts of a divorce during the pandemic?

I’m not entirely sure that your divorce or any other singular person divorced during this time will have an impact on our social fabric as a nation. It’s silly to think that one person’s divorce could have that big of a mark on our country or even your immediate community. However, if you consider all divorces, we can start to track what impacts many people’s divorces will have on our communities and our nation as a whole.

From what I can tell, divorces seem to be occurring more frequently in 2020 than they did in 2019. This is not necessarily a reflection of in-office metrics for tracking divorces having been filed but is more or less a sense from reading about divorce in our country and across the globe. People are generally less content during this pandemic than before in our less content now than they will be one year into the future, I would anticipate. What this means for the world of divorce is that with more people have filed for divorce this year, I think divorce will become even more accepted across our country.

One impact this may have is that more people may be interested in filing for divorce than previously would have been. Many people I talked to who are considering divorce are holding off on filing because they believe that there is a stigma attached to getting divorced and wanting to end your marriage. True, many people do not bat an eye at getting a divorce, but many people still feel that a divorce is a black mark against you. While it is not my place to make an argument one way or the other, I can tell you that getting a divorce can benefit many people in many different circumstances.

It would help if you decided on whether or not getting a divorce is worth the effort and the possible heartache that goes into the process. To be sure, nobody will tell you that getting a divorce is easy or is fun. Surely no one is going to tell you this during a pandemic. However, it would help if you decided how your divorce will impact the rest of your life, and then somewhere far down the line, you should consider what impact the divorce will have on you and your family in a social sense.

Remember that the things that people say to you about divorce are impactful for you, but the reality of the situation is that only you, your spouse, and your immediate family and friends will be with you when the dust settles. Casual acquaintances, coworkers, bosses, and the other people in our lives are only there in the periphery in our very seldom involved in the middle of our life and their doings. I would not recommend you make decisions about the social impacts of divorce based on the opinions and beliefs of people who do not factor into the lion’s share of your life.

Instead, I would take in the council of the people in your life who play significant roles. It would help if you talked to people you trust about your marriage, energy, and family and made decisions based on your perspective and advice. It is typically the case that you will not struggle to find people who have opinions about your life and your marital issues. Everyone likes to play armchair psychologist and make diagnoses about problems in relationships. However, that does not mean that you need to give these people consideration for your marriage issues. Instead, consider how this divorce impacts your immediate social circle and give less time to concerns about the outer bands of your social life.

The emotional impact of a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic

Divorce is an emotional subject even during the best of times. For most people, divorce tends to take over your life for whatever duration your case lasts, meaning that it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of your case and not be able to find your way out until the judge signs your final decree of divorce. While keeping your eyes and attention on essential goals associated with your divorce is a good thing, losing yourself to the process can be highly emotionally jarring and is not recommended.

That does not mean that your divorce is unnecessary or that you should not set goals for yourself within the case. Anyone familiar with the blogs that we post on our website should know that we recommend goal-setting and being intentional about approaching your divorce. However, that does not mean that keeping a single magic focus on your divorce, to the detriment of every other area of your life, is what is recommended. On the contrary, you should bear in mind those areas of your life that gave you emotional satisfaction and block out those subjects that provide nothing but fear.

Anyone interested in learning more about fear and how it impacts your brain should Google fear and its addictive qualities on the Internet. You will know that fear can release chemicals in the brain that allow you to become addicted to information and updates that scare you or intimidate you. Scientists and researchers call this phenomenon “fear scrolling” as it applies to our propensity to search through social media repeatedly in search of new updates of fear for our brain to take in. It’s almost as if our brain chemistries and wiring are manipulated to fear more and thus crave more fearful information. There is no better time to search for alarming information than during a viral pandemic.

Now is an excellent time for you to decide how you will approach your divorce from the perspective of your emotions. Some of you reading this blog post have a strong sense of your emotional well-being and are not easily distracted or hurt by lousy information. If there is one thing that this pandemic should prepare you for if you are going through a divorce, lousy information comes up in a divorce almost as regularly as it has during the pandemic. The terrible news or updates that come up in your divorce may not be frequent, and they may not have life-altering impacts like a pandemic might but learning negative information is a part of your divorce.

Becoming immune to negative updates when it comes to your divorce takes exposure to this sort of information over a long time. In this way, immunity from a virus is much like immunity from potentially harmful data in your divorce case. If you can harden your emotions and take this information as it comes, then you will be better off. There is no set rule for how your divorce will impact your emotions. There is no set rule that a divorce in a pandemic needs to be incredibly emotional. The reality of your situation is that you need to look within yourself and decide how likely you are to handle your divorce from an emotional perspective. If you are particularly prone to becoming negative when you encounter negative information, you need to consider it in your divorce planning. Keep those you love on speed dial and perhaps even consider hiring a therapist or counselor to help you grieve the divorce and better establish a post-divorce life for you and your family.

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, then I recommend you 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 can go a long way to helping you learn about the divorce process and the services provided to our clients by our attorneys and staff. Please join us again tomorrow as we continue to post information about the world of Texas family law on our blog.

Categories: corona, coronavirus, COVID19

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