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Quarantine and Divorce: What Came First?

 Posted on June 01, 2020 in Divorce

The current quarantine is affecting marriages worldwide.

Marriage is hard. It takes two people to show up, sometimes as their best selves and sometimes not, and steadfastly face the joys and challenges of sharing a life.

Social distancing has brought many couples together. Having time to slow down has put a spark back in many marriages.

However, for many couples, the international pandemic has resulted in having a family attorney on speed dial.

Are you fighting with your partner more? Does your family seem that at times it might implode from the sheer pressure of spending so much time together?

You are not alone.

The pandemic has brought with it the distinct challenges:

maintaining physical health,

maintaining employment,

attempting to continue to be a viable member of society in a drowning economy, and,

continuing to have toilet paper!

And if that wasn’t enough, let's lock ourselves up with our spouses. Let's take away the ability to find quiet and solace away from each other when needed. Let's force the inability to maintain any sense of independence. Let's cease all social interactions with people who don’t care how we load the dishwasher!

Consider the following scenarios:

Your son wants to go to a barbecue with his friends. They are going to be outside and promise to social distance. Your spouse thinks that your son should then come home and quarantine in his room for fourteen days. You don’t agree.

Your husband wants to meet his work friends for drinks on a restaurant patio. He assures you that they have been “safe” and that the restaurant staff is wearing masks. You would prefer that he have a Zoom party with his friends, and they all share drinks from the privacy of their own homes. He refuses to speak to you.

You NEED a pedicure, but you don’t think it is safe for your husband to go to his barber.

Your partner doesn’t understand why you occasionally go into the office when you can work from home. You tell her that it's just for a few hours and that you won’t see anybody. She wants you to sleep in the guest room.

Your husband is considering out of town travel for work. His job is essential to your family. If he quarantines when he comes home, who is going to help you homeschool the kids?

Your elderly father lives a few hours away and has a caretaker in his home. You feel like you need to visit to make sure that things are going well, but your spouse says that you cannot take the kids to see their grandfather.

You tell your elderly mother that it is okay for her to meet her friends for lunch if it is just once a week. Your spouse then refuses to allow her to come to your home.

Your daughter wants to go on a road trip with her boyfriend. They will travel by car and “limit their exposure”. You think she should quarantine when she comes home. Your spouse doesn’t.

New life situations created by quarantine are inviting underlying marital tensions to rise to the surface of many relationships. Hard, tough conversations are being forced. Arguments are coming out of nowhere. Our human nature for safety, stability and security is highlighting differences that have been relatively silent in many marriages until now. Getting on each other's nerves in close quarters is to be expected. In many cases, fundamental competing coping mechanisms are leading couples to accept that it might be time to go their separate ways.

If you are feeling the strain of the pandemic in your home life, first pause. Ask yourself if the pandemic is just bringing to light issues that were just under the surface, waiting for the stress to exacerbate the situation, and highlighting the need to act. Or, is your stress purely situational, and a chance to reflect will help you evaluate and repair your relationship? First, take care of yourself and clarify the issue. Work on your relationship. However, if our quarantine has brought you to the realization that it is time to move on, seek legal counsel.

Divorce during and post-pandemic is going to look a little different. The attorneys at The Ramage Law Group can help you consider your options for the future.

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