When you and your partner are quarantined together, the cracks in your relationship become exposed.
While many states have varying degrees of self-imposing quarantine, Shelter in Place orders and six-foot personal distancing, couples are spending more time together now, than ever before. The tension created by of enforced-isolation on couples and families is a reality. Rising tensions within relationships aren’t surprising. Global pandemics are inevitably high-stress times, and the uncertainty of our health care system becoming overrun by ailing people does not have an aphrodisiac effect.
Many couples have a typical routine that includes things like work, gym, school, travel, weekdays and weekends, with a myriad of activities and various social interactions scattered in between. Without the buffer of their routines and their over-scheduled lives, co-parenting challenges, previously existing issues, and unaligned values fester and become exacerbated. This intensified conflict has some couples re-evaluating the future of their marriage relationship.
In the United Kingdom last week, Fiona Shackleton, one of that nation’s top divorce attorneys, said she was expecting an increase in divorce, as a fallout of COVID-19.
According to Shackleton, “Our peak times are after long exposure during the summer holidays and over Christmas,” she said. She went onto say “One only has to imagine what it’s going to be like, when families are sealed inside together for a long period of time.”
” Our peak times are after long exposure during the summer holidays and over Christmas… One only has to imagine what it’s going to be like when families are sealed inside together for a long period of time.”
– Fiona Shackleton, Top Divorce Attorney – UK
Removing our scaffolding of support— which includes personal outlets of social/physical/emotional activities intensifies an already stressful environment. Trapped together in close quarters can create resentment and relationship “landmines”. Financial pressures and uncertainty about the future leaving our nerves wearing thin.
The recent downturn of the stock markets and the impact on values of investment portfolios puts additional pressures on intimate partner relationships. Additionally, with the spike in unemployment, furloughs and work-from-home scenarios, edgy couples are becoming increasingly concerned about their finances and the long-term impacts of COVID-19, while married…. or divorced.
Whether it’s due simply to downtime or to so much “together time,” the tension of quarantine has turned evaluative for many individuals, who are examining their marital relationship and the future. They finally have time to slow down and face realities, consider their goals, and explore their options. Many people have begun exploring resources now, so when courts re-open, they are informed consumers.
Preparing for Divorce
There are some constructive things you can do now, to help you consider and prepare for separation or divorce.
Compile copies of all personal financial records:
- Income documentation
- Bank account statements
- Retirement/investment account statements
- Debts (credit card statements, loan statements and payoff values)
- IRS tax returns for the last three years
Journaling is also constructive— consider your personal goals and think about your future. Ask yourself what do I want my life to look like in five years? There are no wrong answers; these are your dreams and aspirations. This should feel exciting!
Be discreet in your research and intentional about where you store your work. For now, it is best to keep these thoughts to yourself, and not head into a discussion with your partner. There is nothing that causes more friction and potential for danger than being stuck at home with someone who knows you want out.
Timing is everything— now is the time to contemplate, reflect and educate yourself. The polarization you may be feeling should be addressed through careful reading and research, and by judiciously reaching out to experts for support and advice. Don’t allow a lack of planning, or a refusal to face realities leave you uninformed or blind-sided. Information is power and we can help!
Your Trusted Partner
Whether you’re contemplating a divorce, have already started the process, or are far into the proceedings, do you wish you had someone to share with you the inside scoop on how to save money, time and emotional energy on your divorce?
Our team is available for a complimentary virtual consultation to discuss the many scenarios, options and implications of separation or divorce, via telephone or videoconference during this time. Feel free to get in touch with us; we are here for you!