Social isolation has been difficult on everyone but especially on spouses enduring marital issues who are now having to cohabitate in close quarters. For many couples who were already butting heads, their situations have gotten far worse. There are many questions lingering. What can couples seeking divorce do during this time? Are there any options to proceed with divorce despite having to live with each other? With the courts closed, is it possible to even get divorced? How can divorce and COVID-19 possibly mix?
Fortunately, there are resources and options for couples who no longer wish to remain married. Below we’ll talk about how you can move forward with your life even while living in quarantine, with resources for all situations.
Divorcing During a Pandemic
To start, moving forward on a divorce at this time is best for couples who are in mutual agreement about their desire to separate. These couples would be ones who, for the most part, are on good terms with each other but have discussed the possibility of breaking up. It will be even easier to begin the process if you are currently separated from your spouse and are currently isolating in a separate home from them. If you are not in a relationship like this, there are still resources you can use to begin your divorce process that we will discuss in this article. Just keep in mind that what works for one couple may not work for you.
If you and your spouse are both in agreement about your desire to divorce, there is nothing stopping you from beginning to move forward. You can contact an attorney to represent you (note: one attorney cannot represent both spouses), begin analyzing your finances, and divide your property between the two of you. Many attorneys are still providing support to their clients virtually over the phone and through video applications like Zoom. They can also begin all of the paperwork and analysis involved in a divorce during this time. Since many divorces can take months due to how long it can take to settle on property division, taking the next step as soon as possible is within both of your best interest.
For couples who don’t have the resources to hire an attorney but have come to an agreement about wanting to end their marriage, there are several online resources they can take advantage of. Our website includes several tools that are free to use, including Divorce Divider for separating property and conducting financial analysis, Child Support and Alimony Calculators for determining how much support is owed or due, and eBooks and eCourses for educating yourself further. If you need help with your divorce, either requiring additional guidance or just need access to forms and agreements, we also provide a low cost DIY Divorce program that gives you access to an attorney and a step by step guide for how to complete your divorce.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you feel unable to approach the topic of divorce with your spouse, you can still begin the process with some of the tools we’ve mentioned here. Since dividing your property and coming to an agreement about it will take up a considerable amount of your time in the divorce process, you can begin by dividing your possessions and finances in a way that you think is fair before presenting it to your spouse once you are able to feel safe moving out. You can also begin educating yourself by reading articles on the many facets of divorce (child custody, spousal infidelity and spying, domestic violence, etc) so you will be prepared when the time comes to move forward or help you decide if it is, in fact, what you want for yourself. You can also ask questions on our forum, where a licensed divorce attorney can provide answers to the specifics of your situation. It is free to sign up and you are welcome to ask as many questions as you like.
One thing we would like to stress – regardless of your situation, if you are currently being abused in your home, call 911. No one should ever endure abuse but especially not because of a stay at home mandate. Make sure police are called every time you find yourself on the receiving end of domestic violence so that it is documented and while moving out is not currently ideal it may be far better than the alternative.
No matter what stage you are at in moving forward with your divorce, know that you don’t have to be bound to your spouse because of the pandemic. You can take actions now to help you towards your future apart and go from walking on egg shells to breathing easy. No one deserves to be locked in a house with someone they can’t stand and while there may be an unfortunate period of time that you’ll need to share a space with them, you can at least begin the process.