Navigating Divorce During a Pandemic: Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you thinking about getting a divorce? One of the side effects of this pandemic and our government’s response to it is an increase in the rate of filing for divorce. People are generally speaking unhappier right now than they were eight or nine months ago, and as a result, it is causing us to look at our relationships more closely. Not only are people generally speaking more unhappy, but we are also spending more time at home. Combining spending more time at home with being unhappy means that we are bringing our painful states of mind into the home place where we are confronted with our marriages. If you are unhappy with your marriage and are lower now due to the virus and the pandemic, you are likely more inclined to consider divorce.

The reality of the situation is that I can’t tell you whether or not you need to file for divorce. That is such a personal, fact-specific question that I couldn’t possibly answer in a blog post intended for many people to read. What I would like to do they spend some time going through the issues of a divorce case and pose some questions that you should ask yourself before filing for divorce. Your circumstances may call for additional questions to be asked, but I think these are questions that everyone who considers a divorce should be asking him or herself before taking the step to file.

For many people considering a divorce, you should first ask yourself whether or not the divorce needs to be filed at all. Could it be that your frustrations with yourself, your spouse in your marriage can be dealt with in counseling and therapy rather than through filing for divorce? You may even be in a position where simple acts of communication with your spouse can improve your relationship to the point where a divorce is not necessary. Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I think this is the absolute most important question you can ask. After all, why go through with the unnecessary divorce?

The irony of most marital problems is that communication could help solve many, if not most, of them. Issues of money, infidelity, physical or mental abuse, parenting problems, and all the sorts of problems in marriages that I have left out can often be solved by taking a firmer commitment to communicate with your spouse frequently. While the pandemic seems to be the perfect way to share more with your spouse, the reality does not always match our perceptions. I think we will often put off until tomorrow what could have been done today due to a belief that there will always be more time to take care of what we need to.

If you need to take care of an honest discussion with your spouse about problems in your marriage, there is no better time than to start right now. The best time to start would have been weeks or even months ago, but since you cannot go back in time, the best time to start the discussion would be now. Take time and carve out opportunities where you can speak with your spouse about the specific problems in your marriage. If the lines of communication have broken down so severely that you cannot be clear with your spouse about issues in your relationship, you may need to hire A therapist or counselor. Otherwise, I would expect that you and your spouse are fully capable of having this discussion yourselves.

As I mentioned a moment ago, this is the first and most important question you can ask yourself regarding obtain a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic. I can tell you about divorce that once the process starts, it is difficult to go in reverse. Remember that it takes one person to file a divorce but two people to cause the divorce process to end. If you want to give yourself the best possible opportunity to save your marriage, it should be done before the divorce begins. Talk with your spouse about where you see your wedding going and whether or not a chance to salvage the relationship exists.

What is your financial situation looking like at this time?

Now that we are nearly nine months out from the beginning of this pandemic, you probably have a better idea of what your financial picture looks like now and into the future than you did even a couple of months ago. Many people face significant financial problems towards the beginning of the pandemic but are now transitioning into a period of normalcy and stability with their income. Hopefully, if you were worried about your employment status early this year, you have reached a place of peace when it comes to that subject.

Your things situation matters when it comes to filing for divorce. No, I am not implying that you have to be wealthy or have the means to file for divorce. While it does cost some money to file for a divorce, it is not an exorbitantly expensive process. Theoretically, you can obtain a divorce for less than $600.00 or $700.00. The vast majority of these costs are reflected in the amount of money it costs to file documents in the County where you live. Otherwise, you could get by and get a divorce on the cheap by simply stating a copy of your case and learning about the divorce process on your own. It is possible, and I’m sure you can find people who would tell you about their story in doing so.

However, most divorces cannot be had for this small sum. The reason is not that divorce attorneys charge an arm and a leg or that the legal system tries to up your divorce costs the more money you have. Instead, the reality of most people’s situation is that your case requires more work to be done than a few $100 will pay for. With that said, you need to look at your pocketbook and see where you are from a financial perspective. If you cannot afford your credit card bill, mortgage utilities, or other bills, then you need to consider whether or not you can afford a divorce.

It is a personal decision how comfortable you are paying for divorce either out of your pocket or with a credit card. Trust me when I tell you that most law offices, including our own, are very flexible with how you pay for your divorce. Again, the nature of your case and the specific circumstances you find yourself in will determine how expensive your lawsuit will be and what sort of payment structures your attorney will allow you to take in when you hire them. The particular aspects of paying for legal representation should be discussed with the attorney you plan to hire.

Overall, if you are not comfortable with spending at least a few $1000 under divorce, then it may be the case that filing for divorce right now is not in your best interest. There’s a saying about a business that I also like to apply to the world of divorces. The company saying goes something like this: the first rule of business is that a plan takes twice as long to implement, is twice as expensive as you think it will be, and you’re not an exception to this rule. I think the same can be said many times in a divorce. No matter how well you plan out your divorce, the reality is that things happen along the way of a divorce case that can and will cause your chance to become more expensive. If I’m honest with you, more divorces see things come up that will cost you more money along the line of your case, then will end up saving you money. I wish this weren’t true, but in my experience, it is.

The bottom line for this topic is that you need to determine how necessary your divorce is for your circumstances. If it is something where you need time to save up money to pay for an attorney or pay for the divorce, and you can safely remain in your marriage, then you probably ought to do so. However, if you find yourself in a dangerous relationship with your family or yourself, this option may not be available to you. You should explore the sort of options you have to pay for the divorce and then work with the attorneys you are interested in hiring to develop a plan for paying for your divorce and everything that comes along with it.

What do you need to get out of your divorce?

Once you have determined that your divorce is a necessary step and you have the money to pay for that divorce, you should then begin to ask yourself what goals you would like to set for your case. Some of his plans will likely be must-haves and things that you need to see occur. Other purposes may be more optional, and you may be able to bend on those goals given your circumstances. Either way, you should come up with a list of your goals and discuss them with your attorney once they are hired.

What do you need to see happen with your children regarding your divorce? Do you believe that it is in the best interests of your kids for you to be named as their primary conservator? If so, then you should push for primary conservatorship in the divorce. Start to work on a budget and determine what amount of child support you need to make it in a world where you have only your income to rely upon. You and your attorney can use this number and compare it to typical amounts of child support based on the payment of your spouse and the number of children you have.

On the financial side of things, if you are running a little behind when it comes to retirement savings and believe that you need to be aggressive in negotiating over retirement benefits in the divorce, you should consider this as very important to your case. That may involve working to protect as much of your retirement as possible or working to negotiate on the offensive side in arranging for your spouse’s retirement benefits. Part of the negotiation process is being willing to cede other areas of marital property to your spouse in exchange for taking on assets and property that are more important to you.

Learning what is and is not critical to your divorce and then work with your attorney to create plans to achieve as many of your goals as possible. From having represented many people who have gone through divorce cases, I can also tell you that it is essential for you to learn what reasonable goals in your divorce are and most likely unreasonable goals. If you can consider these questions and seriously answer them, then you will be better off both in the immediate sense and in the long term once your divorce is complete.

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