We are now over half a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, which has tested many relationships. With family members in an unsolicited, prolonged situation of physical proximity with each other, family lawyers are getting more questions about getting divorced.
COVID-19 Has Strained Marriages
Relationship issues are harder to avoid when there are fewer opportunities to have physical space from one another. COVID-19 has led to more people staying home because of lost employment, working remotely, and the severe reduction in opportunities to travel. On top of this, children are around more too—attending school virtually, or only attending in-person classes on a reduced basis.
With this intense family proximity, the following conflicts have become unavoidable for couples:
- Financial problems hitting many families due to layoffs and furloughs.
- The amplification of pet peeves and conflicting personality traits that were easier to tolerate when there was physical separation throughout the week.
- Increased and higher severity violence and domestic disturbances when these issues already existed.
- Conflicts within the home regarding remote work.
- Parenting conflicts.
- Harder to conceal infidelity or addiction issues.
Absolute Divorce Requires a Year Wait
While divorce rates may be rising nationwide, it will take some time to see COVID-19’s impact on North Carolina’s divorce rate. North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, which requires that married couples wait for a full year before they can get divorced. During this year, they must be living in separate residences and not have resumed their marital relationship. Therefore, couples seeking a divorce must take definitive steps to separate and start this clock.
Contact a Family Lawyer to Explore Your Options
If you have questions about divorce, you should speak with a divorce attorney to help you develop a plan and make vital decisions about child custody, property, and support. Divorce is hard under normal conditions, and COVID-19 has created unusual circumstances for people separating and divorcing.
For example, while courts are available for filing pleadings and virtual hearings, there are still delays and limitations when it comes to getting hearings before family courts. COVID-19 has also created unusual trends in inventory and turnover in the real estate market, as well as a boom in housing prices. This might make it tempting to sell the marital home, or difficult for a separating spouse to find an affordable place of his or her own. Options for childcare and in-person school are far more limited, creating issues relating to childcare and child custody. This can impact child custody agreements and child support agreements.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.