COVID-19 Caused My Divorce

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Breakups and divorce rates are expected to increase after things calm down with COVID-19. Though it is easy to blame COVID, in most cases, the relationship problems were present prior to this pandemic. The circumstances of 2020 only made the issues worse, resulting in separation.

Despite couples resenting one another during the lockdown, a good number of couples may stay together during this time simply due to loss of income. Even with obtaining deferments and certain discounts, like welfare auto insurance, individuals may still not be able to move out on their own.

These circumstances forcing pairs to stay under the same roof can result in them either growing further apart or working through their problems and growing closer together. Regardless, there is no denying the fact that COVID-19 is breaking the norms associated with relationships. 

How COVID-19 is Changing Relationships

Due to the restraints of COVID-19, relationships of all kinds are being reshaped. It is forcing people to either live closer or farther away from one another. Both adjustments can either strengthen or strain the bond between individuals.

While sheltering-in-place together, people are forced to be in constant contact and to depend on one another for entertainment. Throughout this interaction, couples start to recognize the signs that their marriage may be over. 

Alternatively, couples may also be growing closer during this time since they are forced to rely on one another more. Couples who are farther apart may begin to recognize how much they relied on each other, which causes a sense of unity despite being farther away from one another.

These complications apply to friendships and family relationships as well. Friends and family members may grow closer or farther apart due to the various stressors caused by COVID-19.

Those in long-term relationships may be forced to spend a longer extended time away from one another, which creates another variation of complications between the couple. Despite the living situations, if both partners are not equally willing to work through the stressors, a breakup is more likely to follow.

Why Marriages are Failing During COVID

Over time, couples can grow apart after having children, taking on new careers, and from growing apart over numerous years. This results in people having to deal with unmet needs that may be heightened during the time of quarantine. 

Those heightened emotions associated with being dissatisfied mixed with forced interaction between married couples can be problematic. The overall stresses of the pandemic, specifically financial, emotional, and physical stresses, are pushing people to look at their partners through a more condemning lens.

A study conducted by the University of Washington showed that the chances of divorce increase after the holidays or summer months when couples are together for extended time periods. 

This is one of the reasons why the month of January is referred to as "divorce month." And since the strains of COVID began to present itself during that time, it is no surprise that being stuck in the same building for weeks or months can result in higher divorce rates. 

Separating While Staying Under the Same Roof

Moving on from your relationship when you are still living under the same roof can make the process more complicated, but it is not impossible. Parents who divorce may actually choose to live in the same house when they have children because of the benefits of nesting co-parenting. 

Though for some pairs living under the same roof is a choice, for others it may not be. This can be because of financial situations imposed by COVID-19, and this can make the process of living together while separated more frustrating. 

Here are some tips to help you manage to live with your ex-spouse: 

  • Communicate and come to terms with why you are living separately under the same roof

  • Don't give gifts to your ex-spouse for any occasion

  • Let close associates and relatives know that you are not living as a couple but are separated within the same residence

  • Have a third party come to the home occasionally to observe the two spouses' separate and distinct living spaces 

  • Utilize separate entrances to residence if capable

  • Establish and maintain the intent to separate permanently

  • Use separate bedrooms

  • Do not engage in romantic or sexual intimacy

  • Stop wearing wedding rings

  • Don't shop for each other's food, prepare meals, or shop for clothing and other necessities

  • Do not eat meals together, except for special occasions such as holidays or children's birthdays

  • Make each spouse responsible for caring for their own space within the home

  • Use a separate and secure computer and telephone

  • Create separate checking and savings accounts

  • Do not attend things together such as social events or church 

Perhaps the biggest thing to remember is that parenting must look slightly different once you are separated. Interact as parents together only when it is absolutely necessary from the children's perspective and their well-being. This can be with implementing punishment, attending games, having counseling sessions, or meeting with a school staff member about the child.

Steps to Take When Divorcing after Quarantine Ends

If you did not mend your relationship when issues were revealed during the tough times of COVID, you may be facing a divorce as quarantine ends. Once everything opens back up, you will be able to file for divorce more easily. 

If this is your goal, here are the next steps you should take.

Legal Preparations

Gather records that are important to your marriage. The legal experts at Skaug Law explain that this can be a prenuptial agreement, insurance policies, proof of income, mortgage documents, or any other important documents. 

Talk to a lawyer to figure out all that you should prepare for when going through this divorce. A lawyer can further advise you on what type of documents or records are needing for the divorce proceedings.

Personal Preparations

Open a PO box to have your mail go to a separate address if you are still living with your partner. Open new financial accounts to start separating your finances, and establish your own credit so you can prepare to be out in the world on your own.

Change your estate plan if you no longer want your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. Change your digital login information to emails and accounts if your spouse knows them. Make a plan for how childcare will look like between you two after the divorce is finalized

Stay in your family home as long as possible until a judge or you two decide what will happen with it. If you are the one to leave the home, it may cause the judge to award the house or even custody of the children to your ex-spouse.

Evaluate Your Options 

It is important to remember that life is ever-changing. Though divorce is not always anticipated, sometimes it is best for those involved. 

However, it is also fine to work through the problems that are revealed under the circumstances of COVID-19. This pandemic may have brought to light issues that you and your spouse have been dealing with for years, and now is the time to choose whether they are deal-breakers or not.

About Author

Imani Francies writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceCompanies.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.

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