If you find yourself looking at separation post-COVID-19, know that you are not alone. A recent article in USA Today predicts divorce will spike in the wake of the pandemic. While only you can decide what’s best for your marriage and your family, we have compiled a short list of things you can do to prepare for a separation post-COVID-19.
- Have all your documents together and ready to go. This includes school records, medical records, and any written communications with the other parent/opposing party. It’s also essential to keep up with correspondence from third parties such as teachers, coaches, tutors, etc. Keep track of everything as it could relate to your child’s well-being.
- Make a budget for yourself. If your spouse generally took care of the bills for the household well, take this time to get up to speed on those as well. Find out how much your electric bill is, your water bill, gas bill, exterminator, etc. Total up the average you spend per month on groceries for your family. An important part about separation is figuring out how much it will cost to support yourself and/or your children without the income of the other spouse and if it’s is doable. For some spouses, it is not, which is an important thing to know right off the bat when you consult with an experienced family law attorney about the availability of spousal or child support.
- Keep yourself in check – this is a big one we emphasize. When you are in a custody case, you must understand that you are always under a microscope. Everything and anything you do could be scrutinized by the Court or other party. Yes, sometimes other try to make mountains out of mole hills, but you also don’t want a lot of mole hills. Lastly, be mindful that you should also talk to the other parent in a cooperative, amicable manner.
- Co-parenting is a must. No matter how hard it may seem, always do your best to co-parent to the utmost of your abilities. The better you are at co-parenting, the better you will look in a judge’s eyes.
- Do not, under any circumstances, involve the children. They should be left out of any details of the case and any disagreements you may have with the other parent. This can also be a confusing and challenging time for them, and they need to know that both their parents love them and have their best interests at hearts. Trying to play sides or favorites will only hurt them.
- Establish a Support Network. There is no better time than the present to reconnect with family and friends. Separation is emotionally draining for all parties involved. Set up regular FaceTime or telephone calls with your family members and friends to have a strong support network if you decide to pull the trigger post quarantine. Let your trusted family members know that things are rocky, and you are struggling. No one should have to go through this alone. However, do refrain from oversharing about your marital issues on social media, in fact we recommend that this should not be done at all. Your Facebook friends do not need to know every time you and your spouse get into a fight! Lastly, consider speaking with a counselor or therapist for help or an as-needed tune-up.
- Consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a divorce case. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to talk to a family law attorney and know your rights and options before you separate from your spouse.