The blame for divorce rates being higher than ever may lie with the coronavirus pandemic. Many lawyers are reporting that the weeks leading up to the holidays have been hectic for them. According to one report, courts have handled a much higher number of divorce filings than usual. Typically, the weeks before a holiday are quiet, as many couples do not wish to disturb family traditions, which generally include traveling and visits with extended family. However, with traveling and large family gatherings strongly discouraged this year, couples are opting not to wait until the start of the new year to cut ties.
Marriage counseling is often a starting point for couples who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage. Marriage counseling allows the parties to address marital challenges with a neutral third-party to open communication lines in the hope of resolving the issues at hand. Counseling is an excellent opportunity for parties to minimize discord and settle on a middle ground. However, if the parties cannot achieve reconciliation, marriage counseling can be ideal for couples to discuss a collaborative divorce option. Especially now, with courts experiencing closures to slow the spread of coronavirus and dockets becoming overloaded with cases, a collaborative divorce presents a viable and appealing option for many parties.
Litigation can be time-consuming and costly. The tension that comes with litigation can also make it difficult for parties to get along once litigation concludes. As a result, parties can choose to forego litigation and seek a collaborative divorce instead. With a collaborative divorce, the parties aim to settle their pending issues and claims without the need to go to court for litigation. Attorneys are certainly available to help parties navigate the collaborative divorce process. Often, attorneys are helpful during the collaborative divorce process in providing financial advice and keeping clients fully aware of the laws governing the case and the client’s rights and obligations under any agreements that are reached.
On Friday, December 11, 2020, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced that in North Carolina non-essential, in-person court proceedings would be postponed for 30 days, beginning Monday, December 14, 2020. With court closures becoming the norm to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, alternative options that keep parties out of court, including collaborative divorces, are becoming more appealing for many. If you feel the collaborative divorce process may be for you, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney today to explore your options in pursuing this alternative legal route for your matter.