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Divorce and Coronavirus: Does it Make Sense to Wait?

It seems like all we've been doing for the past eight months is waiting. We have been waiting for the worst of the current virus pandemic to be behind us. We've been waiting for positive news to hear on television or to read on the computer. We had been waiting for a vaccine to help put this whole episode behind us into move on. Waiting, waiting, waiting all of us have become experts on waiting whether we like it or not. Some areas of our life are easier than others to wait on.

One of those areas that we in the world of Texas family law have observed to not seen much waiting go on in is in regard to filing for divorce. Anecdotally, divorce rates appear to have increased in our area and across the country since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. While those increases have not been steady, they have seen somewhat rapid increases during the past few months. Towards the beginning of the pandemic in many people we're waiting to see what would happen next as far as the virus was concerned. We didn't know much about the virus and could not project into the future what sort of safeguards we would need to take with our health and with our country overall. 

As a result, we have seen local, state and federal government actions intended to curb the spread of the virus. I suppose that only time will tell how effective each of those methods have been. Overall, however, the legal field has sustained a great deal of waiting due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government led shutdown centered around social distancing. We saw most family law courts closed immediately after the outset of the pandemic only to see gradual re-openings over the summer and into the fall. Complete shutdowns of public spaces went by the wayside in favor of mandatory mask wearing. This allowed the courts and the legal system to begin to move after being stuck in the mud for months after March 2020

Even though the courts themselves were closed to the public for much of the pandemic that did not stop people from filing for divorce. The concerns over health and the increased time that we were spending at home caused many people to, apparently, reassess their marriage and determined that a divorce was in their best interest. As such, divorces began to increase in the late spring months and have steadily increased since. There are multiple theories as to why this is but I think one that is pretty obvious is that our mental health has been harmed as a result of The government led lockdowns and stay at home orders. as a result, none of us are doing as well from a mental health perspective as we had been earlier this year. 

When we are not doing well then, we will look for reasons in ways too change the path that we're on. One of those ways to change the path that we're on is to take a look at our relationships with a critical eye. The most important relationship that many of us have is our marriage and if your marriage had not been doing well prior to the coronavirus then it is very unlikely to be doing well now. There is too much uncertainty, too much unhappiness, too much stagnation and not near enough optimism for us to be able to press forward in relationships that we are not happy with. What we see occurring across the country in Southeast Texas as well is that people are seeking change through the hiring of divorce attorneys. 

With all of that saying, I do not recommend that you hold off on plans to get a divorce simply because of the coronavirus pandemic. What I would like to do for the duration of today's blog post is to discuss why it is that I do not recommend that you hold off on plans to get a divorce due to this pandemic. These reasons come from my own opinions on the matter and from observations that I have made based on my working with people in the field of Texas family law. 

Divorce does not necessarily mean a great deal of contact with other people 

One of the things that this pandemic has caused all of us to reevaluate there's what level of risk are we willing to take on in our daily lives. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic there is still risk of all of us getting sick when we would get up out of bed and go into the real world. The common cold, the flu and other viruses and bacteria exist sufficient to get any number of assic on any given day. That hasn't changed since the beginning of the pandemic, but a new virus has been introduced that is taking up our attention for the time being. While most of us will probably never get sick from the coronavirus when you're all captive in a sense that there is a chance that we could be carrying the virus or a chance that we could get sick from someone carrying the virus. As such, the decision has been made for us that we should socially distance as much as possible in order to avoid illness. 

Getting yourself involved in a court case would seem to be a poor way to socially distance. After all: doesn't filing for divorce mean that you and your spouse will end up spending a great deal of time in a courthouse around a lot of strangers? Isn't that the very thing that we have been told time and time and time again is averse to our health and contrary to public health goals? The reality of the situation is that filing for divorce in Texas does not mean that you will be spending a lot of time with people that you don't know in closed quarters. 

On the contrary, getting divorced in Texas is a fairly straightforward process that requires minimal, if any personal interaction with people outside of your home. Consider that law offices such as ours are conducting informational interviews with potential clients via video or over the phone. Even before the pandemic our office was able to work with people who didn't even live in the United States by utilizing technology to our advantage. We are even able to go over a contract with you and obtain your signature and other information electronically. Thus, signing up with an experienced family law attorney like those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is now easier done than ever before. 

Gone also are the days where you and your spouse would need to attend family court hearings on various matters related to your case. Instead, you and your spouse may even be able to attend a virtual mediation session with your attorney to help each of you social distance even more. Virtual mediation sessions maybe a way of the future even once the pandemic passes by. It is an effective way for you to be able to work with your attorney and an experienced mediator to help you resolve issues in your case without ever having to leave your home. While many people prefer the personal interactions involved in a face to face mediation under the circumstances we're in right now virtual mediation helps you to keep your case moving and also decreases the chances of passing the virus between persons. 

Even a prove up hearing, the final hearing in a divorce case, can oftentimes be done virtually rather than having to go in for a short hearing with the judge. This is honestly something that I could see sticking around even after the pandemic is God given how it can be a rather large time commitment for people to go downtown for a short 5 minute hearing with the judge. They prove appearing is an opportunity for the judge to meet you face to face in review your final degree of divorce. Doing so via zoom can help eliminate needless trips to the courthouse and can also help to keep people safe. 

The circumstances in your marriage will not change if you wait and do nothing 

If you are considering to wait on filing for divorce do too the idea that do you believe that the time at home will increase the chances of a reconciliation between you and your spouse then I would recommend that you all work diligently towards accomplishing that goal. The goal that you have must be something that is precise, has a time limit and is written down. Unless all of these factors are in play it is unlikely that you will accomplish your goal. As such, I recommend that you and your spells take active measures to improve your marriage if your goal is to not get a divorce. 

If you choose to not take an active and involved role in reconciling with your spouse, then it is very unlikely that a reconciliation will occur. Any delay in filing for divorce will only be wasting time and delaying the inevitable. You can hope all day and all night that your marriage will improve but unless actual steps are taken to improve the relationship no good will have come from waiting. 

By waiting, you will have only added to the stagnation of your life during the course of this pandemic. If you have been waiting to file for divorce and are concerned about the state of her marriage then you should either seek counseling, work directly with your spouse to communicate your problems with one another or file for divorce. Things in life generally do not stay the same. Things are either progressing or regressing. Keep that in mind as you make decisions about how to proceed with your marriage. 

Your post pandemic or post-divorce life will not get here any sooner when you delay your divorce 

We can all rationalize our way out of an into doing certain things but one thing I will note is that the changes you seek in your personal life or an end to the pandemic are not related. If you try and delay your divorce that will not help you achieve any of the goals you have for your life in the meantime by the same token, there is no telling when the brunt of this pandemic will end and as a result You cannot expect that any of these changes that you are seeking will occur any easier after the pandemic is gone. 

The only things that we have direct control over our our attitudes and the steps we take to better ourselves. If you have come to the conclusion that a divorce is what you need to put yourself in a better state of mind and is what is best for your children, then we should move towards getting a divorce. There is one set way to get a divorce and that is too file your divorce and proceed with the case. While some of the circumstances surrounding a divorce have changed due to the pandemic the overall process has not. If you are having trouble getting your case off the ground in need some encouragement or guidance, then I would recommend you speak to an experienced family law attorney in order to learn what the first steps in the process are.

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 a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about the services provided to our clients by our attorneys and staff. 

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