So here we all are about four months after the initial quarantines and shutdown orders came down from the government. Our lives have been temporarily transformed into what they are now: reduce mobility, remote working and learning and wondering what is going to happen in the future. When will all of this come to an end? Will it ever come to an end? These are the questions that have been swirling at our minds for months now. The one thing we all want to see is a light at the end of the tunnel.
this pandemic could be even more difficult to get through if you are also going through a divorce. A divorce in and of itself is hard enough as it is. It becomes even more difficult from a mental perspective when you have fewer things to take your mind off of your case. Many if not most of the diversions that we have become accustomed to are closed down for the foreseeable future. these were distractions that not only allowed us to physically engage other activities but also distract ourselves from some of the day-to-day drudgeries of life.
It would be very easy to focus on the negatives associated with a self-quarantine and with this pandemic as a whole. However, for you some glass is half full type information regarding why I believe that this pandemic could actually offer you some benefits if you are going through a divorce. Call me an optimist, but this is time that you can use to help rebuild your marriage, better your relationship with your kids and even plan for an end to your divorce if you must go through one.
Use the self-quarantine in order to help rebuild your marriage
This is one of those areas that is much easier said than done in terms of getting a goal accomplished. If you set out to improve your marriage and, in many cases, save your marriage from divorce during this self-quarantine then you have your work cut out for you. Your spouse may have moved out of the house or you yourself may have moved out of the house. On top of that, either one of you may be concerned about any number of issues related to this pandemic not limited to your health, the health of your children, your kids going back to school or either of your jobs. I will grant you that the environment for discussion regarding marital issues is a difficult one right now.
However, the self-quarantine has also slowed the world down to a certain extent. Yes, you can still get a divorce in Southeast Texas, but your case will likely not proceed as quickly as it would have six months in the past or it will six months in the future. Right now, the courts are just starting to open up their doors and let more people inside courtrooms for hearings while mediators are busy mediating cases that would have ordinarily been settled in March or April. As a result, the wheels of justice may be turning a bit slower right now than usual.
However, you can use this to your advantage. As there is more time spent with in a divorce case in this time period you can Use this unique set of circumstances to your advantage if your goal is to avoid the completion of your divorce and save your marriage. For example, if you and your spouse are still living in the same household you can use this time to work together to communicate about the issues that have brought about a serious discussion of divorce. This does not mean that you all will be able to perfectly walk through all of your issues and determine what steps you will take next in order to save your marriage. What it does mean is that you all can at least agree on What the problems in your marriage are and lay the groundwork for further discussion down the line.
Unfortunately, communicating your way through tricky issues in a divorce is usually a series of conversations rather than a single conversation. If these issues have been festering for years and you all have neglected discussing them together then you may find that it takes this entire self-quarantine in order to walk through them. that does not mean That it is not worthwhile to have those discussions but what it does mean is that you need to start sooner rather than later if you want to save your marriage.
One thing that I will tell people who are attempting to talk through the issues in their marriage is to reserve some time each day for these conversations. Even if we're all stuck inside our homes that does not mean That you will necessarily carve out time for in depth an honest discussion with your spouse about the problems in your marriage. On the contrary, it is more likely that you all will naturally try to avoid having difficult discussions with one another. That does not mean that you both are ambivalent towards saving your marriage what it does mean is that you all are humans and do not gravitate toward having difficult conversations.
Human nature being what it is, you can still overcome the odds and save your marriage even if you or your spouse have already filed for divorce. In the event that you have attorneys you should make it known to them that you are going to take some time to attempt to work through your marital issues. An attorney may take issue with this but remember that this divorce is your case and not the attorneys. Their job is to advise you and not to make decisions for you. If it is your choice to attempt to resolved problems in your marriage now is as good a time as any to attempt to do so.
The last thing I will note when it comes to working to save your marriage through communication during a self-quarantine is that you need to extend some patience and grace towards your spouse when and if your spouse discusses topics that are sensitive to you. It is likely that you and your spouse know how to push the other buttons and how to get him or her upset. It is not right to constantly go after sensitive subjects in an attempt to win an argument, but it is also not fair for you to not be receptive of constructive criticism or honest opinions. If you and your spouse can extend grace, find the middle ground in arguments and share a common goal of saving your marriage then this pandemic may offer you a silver lining in terms of being able to save your marriage.
Don't let the self-quarantine period be one where you don't improve the relationship with your children
Just as I was recommending in the prior section of this blog post, you should take this time at home and work to improve your relationship with your kids. Depending on your living arrangements and on the ages of your children this may mean different things for different people. Older kids are better able to entertain themselves and likely have interests of their own that don't involve you and your spouse. Younger children may still be in a position where they rely on you for entertainment and for stability during this strange time that we are living through. Your job is apparent is to provide consistency and stability to them.
In the event that you are going through a divorce your primary concern baby in regard to the impact of the case on your relationship with your kids. Just about every parent who goes through a divorce is concerned with how the divorce is going to potentially take away or add to the time that they are able to spend with their children. From experience, I can tell you that appearance first concern when they talk to a family law attorney is how much time will they be able to spend with their child after the divorce.
Of course, the answer to that question depends on your family dynamics in on the individual circumstances of your case. What I can tell you is that what happens in your divorce case isn't always directly in your control. There are so many circumstances at play in a divorce that it is very difficult to get a hold on all of them and she controlled as much of your case as you would like to. On the other hand, you are fully able to take this opportunity of self-quarantine and spend it with your children as best you can.
Whether or not you think so, your children are going to remember this time period. They could remember it as the super uncertain time where they didn't know what to expect from day to day and felt uneasy about the changes in their home or they could look back on this time period as a unique one but one where they knew that their mom and dad I'm going to be there for them. Do your best to take advantage of this time with your kids by engaging with them on their level in doing your best to listen to what they have to say about the world at large and in your family specifically.
If the divorce has to happen then you should plan accordingly
if you do your best to work through the issues in your marriage and you are none the less unsuccessful at stopping the divorce then your attention should shift too how are you going to resolve your case as amicably and efficiently as possible. A divorce does not have to be a battle royale between you and your spouse. You can take advantage of your resources, like your attorneys and an experience mediator, in order to resolve your issues prior to having to see a judge. This way you can better control the ultimate outcome of your case and avoid a prolonged and more expensive divorce.
For example, you should begin to work with your spouse on how to divide property with him or her. Your community estate will need to be divided up in some form or fashion And rather than to wait for the last minute to figure out how you're going to do so, you can use this self-quarantine as a way to talk through these issues while you have time on your hands. Many times, you will learn that you and your spouse cannot even agree on what is part of the community estate and what is part of your separate estates. Rather than writing this out over a mediation session It would make sense to discuss it now when emotions are not running as high.
Finally, negotiating with your spouse towards the end of a divorce or in mediation itself can often be difficult. Clients will tell me how impactful it is to go into mediation due to the stress and anxiety involved. Many times, people think about subjects differently when they are under a great deal of stress versus how they may do so in less stressful times. Nothing brings out stress an emotion more than talking about your kids in the divorce. Why not use this opportunity as one to have honest discussions with your spouse away from attorneys and in a relatively stress-free environment?
Questions about the material presented in this blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material presented in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in our office, over the phone India video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law and about how our office can best serve you and your family as clients of ours. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and we hope you will join us again soon.