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Divorce and Coronavirus: Can Your Marriage Survive Forced Togetherness?

by sjackson  on May 4, 2020 under 

There are two unexpected side effects of the coronavirus pandemic in America:

  • Weddings Are Down
    Even with the legalization of virtual weddings and many quickly organized small ceremonies of 10 or fewer attendees, COVID-19 accelerated the already plunging U.S. marriage rate, the lowest on record.
  • Divorce Filings Are Up
    Forced togetherness and financial stress are causing a surge in divorce filings across the country. 

As Georgia slowly begins to re-open and get back to business, many couples are looking forward to the end of #AloneTogether, where they were forced to spend weeks together, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - not to mention financial pressure, homeschooling children, working from home, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits and the stress and fear of the unknown. 

Georgia courts will likely begin re-opening in mid-June. Gwinnett County Courts have implemented socially distant service delivery until May 13, 2020, but it's expected that will be extended another 30 days. 

Divorce and Coronavirus

Every situation, every marriage and every divorce is different. At our family law practice we are seeing these scenarios from couples who want to divorce:

1. You already planned to divorce.
Some couples already had already made the decision to divorce, and the #StayHome self-quarantine national and local orders made it temporarily impossible for them to file. Forced isolation at home together under difficult circumstances has re-confirmed their decision.

Now that the quarantine is lifting and the courts are re-opening, these couples are contacting their divorce lawyer to move forward to dissolve their marriage.

2. During quarantine you realized you no longer love your partner.
Before the pandemic, you were busy living your lives - working, raising a family, being part of a community. During the quarantine, you discovered that you have very little in common with your spouse, and that you no longer want to be married to each other, “Why am I staying married to someone I no longer love?” 

Once life returns to the “new normal” some couples will realize that they decided to divorce out of frustration and fear for the future. These couples may determine there are more reasons to stay together than to separate and divorce, and ultimately choose not to divorce. 

Other couples may find that the forced isolation was a wake-up call, that life is too short to stay married to someone they no longer love and pursue a divorce. 

3. Your divorce was already in process.
Some couples were in the process of divorcing when the quarantine hit - and were unexpectedly forced to live together due to finances, childcare, work and other issues that made it impossible to live in separate residences during the lockdown. 

Weeks of forced togetherness has made these couples want to move forward with their divorce and get on with their new life as quickly as possible.

Domestic Abuse Situations
Mandatory isolation with an abusive spouse or soon-to-be-ex-spouse is dangerous and not acceptable even during a pandemic. If you are afraid, in danger and in an abusive situation in Gwinnett County there is help: 

Partnership Against Domestic Violence
404-870-9600

Should You File For Divorce Now?

When the courts re-open, there undoubtedly be a backlog of divorce cases and it will take longer for cases to be filed and finalized. A consultation with an experienced divorce and family law attorney can help you assess your situation, and what the options are in your local courts, including:

  • Legal Separation
    The concept of legal separation is not accepted under Georgia law. Georgia couples preferring to remain married but wanting to live apart can, however, file for a legal action called separate maintenance. A separate maintenance action is ideal for spouses who want to live apart but do not want to get divorced. It is for those who want to provide for financial support, agree on a parenting plan, and divide their assets and debts.
  • Uncontested Divorce
    A divorce is uncontested when both spouses agree on all issues in the divorce so that a lawsuit can be avoided. This type of divorce can be resolved in only a couple of months, is less expensive and usually maintains more civility between the spouses after the divorce.

    Even if a couple agrees in general on the terms and go into the divorce choosing to separate amicably, they still should have legal representation.
  • Traditional Divorce
    If you either you or your spouse both don’t want the divorce, or if you disagree on the major issues of dissolving your marriage, you have a contested divorce. Aspects in which you do not agree must be decided by a judge in the court. This type of divorce involves a great amount of time, energy, and costs.
  • Mediated Divorce
    If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship but need help working through some of the issues, you may be a candidate for divorce mediation. Mediation utilizes a 3rd party negotiator instead of going directly to the court.  If successful, mediated divorce saves time and money.

Family Law Experience You Can Trust
Are you considering a divorce, and have urgent family law matters that need to be resolved right away? Attorney Sharon Jackson is fearlessly committed to fight for what is right and fair, especially when your legal rights are involved. Contact us today by completing the Case Review form or call Attorney Sharon Jackson LLC at (678) 846-3440.

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