The rate of divorce in New Jersey may spike in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may also lead to a baby boom.
Our Monmouth County divorce lawyers know these occurrences are often observed after any stretch that families spend a great deal of uninterrupted time together, such as right after the holidays or following a summer break. Some family law firms see increases of 100 to 200 percent in divorce inquiries during these times.
Forced social isolation may take it to new heights. Couples are likely to have little to no time apart from each other, their children or extended family members that reside with them. Issues that may have been glossed over in the past are now coming into a stark new light. Factor in the stress of potential unemployment, financial woes and health concerns, the situation is like a pressure cooker.
Things like school, meeting outside with other family and friends and working tend to be key to a person’s physical and mental well-being. Restricting those freedoms – even for very good reasons – inevitably will have a major effect on families who are cooped up with few outlets.
Some people may use this time to work on their marriage and hammer out unresolved conflicts. Others may discover that they are at the point of no return and that once this is over, it’s time to move on.
In China, where the number of coronavirus cases has since plateaued, divorce rates have risen. The Global Times reported that couples were forming lines out the doors of divorce registration offices almost as soon as quarantines were lifted. In one city in the southwestern Sichuan Province, government officials reported receiving nearly 100 divorce filings in less than three weeks. There is also a backlog of cases reported. Some couples say that in order to avoid fighting in front of their children, they’ve resorted to exchanging e-mails to each other – despite being only a few physical feet apart.
Still, more time together isn’t necessarily all good or all bad. It may only hasten the trajectory on which the couple already was, strengthening healthy marriages and exposing difficulties. In some cases, increased time together may allow couples to get to the core of issues that they may have been nitpicking over in recent months. If the couple was thinking about having a baby, they may decide to do so sooner.
Some marriage counselors are offering their virtual counseling services for couples who are struggling to get along while quarantined and/or social distancing with each other.
Many people will postpone making any major decisions in the throes of an uncertain and scary situation. However, people who are confined together 24/7 may decide when it’s all over they can’t spend one more day together.
If you already had a divorce court date on the calendar, that has likely been rescheduled. You should have been notified by either the court or your divorce attorney regarding the same. New Jersey Courts are working with limited staffing, though they are prioritizing critical functions. If you are in danger and need a temporary protection order, the court can still process these requests.
If you decide during this time that you want to proceed with a divorce, our Monmouth County family law team can help you best use this time to gather essential records and evidence, which can save you time and money in the long run.
Our attorneys are still available to meet with our clients and potential clients via secure web video calls. This includes free initial consultations to help you learn about your rights as well as updates for existing clients. Apps like Zoom are available for easy download on your iPad or smartphone and our hours are flexible so that communications can be kept discrete.
Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.