If you’ve felt yourself going a little stir-crazy these past few weeks, rest assured you’re not the only one. Adjusting to new routines, handling the stress of familial proximity, and potentially coping with job loss are things many of us face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, these feelings are enhanced for married men and women who no longer want to be together through sickness and health.
Domestic Ramifications of Forced Close Quarters
Since the Coronavirus has forced countless families indoors under stay-at-home orders across the country, divorce lawyers have seen a considerable increase in petitions for divorce. This is in no small part due to the immense stress many are under today, causing pre-existing fracture lines to deepen and, for many, destroy relationships.
Often in relations, both members of the couple are out working and reunite for evenings and weekends. Now, with non-stop contact, some relationships are being put through the gauntlet. Small annoyances or irritating personality flaws can be magnified to seem much more prominent than perhaps they actually are.
To make matters worse, the children of divorced parents now have another layer of stress as well. In shared custody arrangements, sometimes, seeing both parents isn’t an option anymore. Now some children have to be without physical contact with a parent for potentially months.
Custody Problems Are Just The Beginning
For a divorced husband or wife who only gets custody on the weekends, this has the potential to be a devastating blow for both parties. However, there are also plenty of parents who neglect children’s wellbeing during this time. While it’s doubtful that any significant number of parents intentionally place their offspring in harm’s way, some parents take the Coronavirus less seriously than others, and may unintentionally bring the disease to their child.
It doesn’t stop there. There has also been an increasing number of calls to the police for domestic abuse. In already deteriorating marriages or relationships, the option to move out on short notice is no longer available for some unfortunate spouses. For those whose safe space is work, trips on the train, or otherwise getting out of the house, escape may be cut off due to distancing regulations.
On top of their already back-breaking workloads, police officers have the duty of enforcing stay-in-place orders, as well as additional domestic violence calls. While some police departments make jokes on social media, asking criminals to halt criminal activity until the Coronavirus epidemic clears, it would take an act of similar magnitude for the police to catch up with the frenetic pace our country is going.
A Closed Court System Cause Unknown Delays
The long and short of the bad news is that couples seeking a divorce, a spouse seeking legal separation from an abuser, and the single parent seeking to amend a custody agreement is that none of these things are going to happen anytime soon. The courts are still closed, only available for emergencies. For many of these situations, the consequences aren’t life or death. Only months on end of severe emotional distress, fracturing families, and potential for continuous abuse. The Coronavirus pandemic seems to have an inexhaustible list of negative side effects, aside from the actual symptoms.
A light, in the middle of this gloomy situation, is the knowledge that many couples are enjoying a long-awaited reunion. Too often, working folks in happy relationships are apart due to work or travel. Now that many work from home and travel is discouraged, it’s an opportunity for people to spend time with their significant others.
Parents working from home get to be around their children, husbands, and wives can be present for each other for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not all relationships are failing, not all children have to watch their home get torn apart, and not all normalcy is destroyed. There is still good news, and while we should help those in need, it’s healthy to find a silver lining even in the darkest situations.
If you have questions about your options during this trying time, reach out to Bruckheim & Patel to speak with attorney Sweta Patel regarding a consultation about your divorce or family custody issues at 202-930-3464.