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COVID, Confinement, and Divorce

Attorneys in the Piedmont Triad are seeing an increase in calls about separation and divorce. This increase may be a result of families forced to spend more time together or of instability due to one spouse or the other losing their employment from the COVID lockdowns.

Families are experiencing more stress, anxiety, and conflict from being forced to spend extended time together. Spouses that were often only tolerating each other with limited time together are finding that the increased time spent with a spouse only magnifies their issues. Relationships under normal circumstances present enough problems. With parties forced to spend considerably more time together, conflicts heat up and all too often become a significant fire in a short time.

With spouses losing the ability to earn an income because of layoffs and lockdowns, family finances become an accelerant for underlying issues smoldering between the spouses. Fear and uncertainty from the sudden loss of unemployment benefits or extensions of lockdowns by state governments create more stress. Spouses that lack adequate coping skills may look outside their marriage to escape their worries and anxiety, or they may self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy online activities that create more controversy between couples. Having social media at our fingertips combined with our need to socialize or to feel needed and appreciated, some partners will rekindle an old relationship from high school or college that may strain the relationship with their spouse even more.

Disagreements between spouses arise when there is a difference in parenting styles. With parents and children spending so much time together, the parent that usually handles small disciplinary issues may be at odds with a more lenient or more strict parent on handling problems. The stress of having more rules or having parents arguing can lead to behavior issues in children. Parents should try to remember that their child is not the source of their problems, and although the parents cannot get along they will always be the parents of their child. Parents should be a source of love, safety, and comfort during difficult times; it is essential for the children.

As the issues between spouses continue to grow and smolder with each addition of another stressful event, the relationship becomes a powder keg of emotions, hurt, and anger. Unfortunately, in some instances, the interactions become violent. If you or your family are in a situation where your partner has resorted to violence, dislodge yourself from the situation as soon as you feel it is safe to do so and call 911 or the Guilford County Family Justice Center immediately.

If you feel you are no longer able to live with your partner, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the separation and divorce process.