SURVIVING LOCKDOWN WITH A SOON-TO-BE- EX-SPOUSe

Across the world, couples facing a separation or divorce were faced with a challenge like no other. That is, isolating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse! Tensions have been rising amid quarantine in the happiest of homes, however, with couples already facing a divorce, things have become unbearable for many.

It’s hard enough going through the challenges that divorce brings, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, couples now found themselves unable to have their cases brought before the courts, attend meetings with their attorneys and many now had to work from home under the same roof as their spouse. The most apparent impact is that most, if not all, courthouses have been closed except for emergencies. This now caused not only a delay in divorces but also applications for support and custody. When lockdown measures were announced, couples that were making plans to divorce were now faced with being in limbo and unable to move forward.

Lockdown can be extremely challenging for couples even when their marriages are in a good place, however, now we have couples unable to leave for work each day and remain in a tension-filled home all day long makes life especially difficult. Silly things can become points of tension very easily. Spouses have found themselves taking refuge in designated rooms in the house just to cope under one roof.

With all of this said, there are a few measures I recommend for couples during this unique time:

  • The Divorce- Your divorce, like any lawsuit, is dependent on the timely functioning of our court systems to become finalized. An ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) may be a potential solution to the courthouse closures and their backlog of cases. This allows couples to move forward by utilizing video conferencing to mediate or arbitrate issues such as parenting and temporary support.
  • Quarantine Conflicts- Another option to make living under one roof more manageable is drawing up a Relationship Separation Contract. This outlines each person’s role with each other and the children, along with defining your space within the home.
  • Your Children- Most kids have been home 24/7 and with schools closed and activities canceled, which has had a major impact on parenting time and transitions. It is more critical than ever to work together with your spouse to ease the change in parenting plans and schedules. This is a time in their lives they will remember the most before you become two households. Discuss with your children about the temporary arrangement due to the virus and what will happen afterward.
  • Your Family’s Health- make sure you and your spouse are on the same page regarding social distancing and staying home. Tensions will flare if one parent decides to take the kids out to friends or family during this time of social distancing when it has not been agreed upon. You must have an open line of communication.

The COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and couples facing a divorce have had an extra layer of complexity to an already difficult and complex situation by having to isolate together. For this reason, it is important to take control of your lives and discuss pertinent topics such as financial settlements and co-parenting arrangements. By resolving such conflicts and keeping the interests of your children in mind, it is possible to have stability while living under one roof during the quarantine.

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