Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Baby Boom or Divorce Boom? Coronavirus' Ripple Effect is Looming!

Recently, I read an article in the Miami Herald and the first sentence caught my attention: "Coronavirus is making couples sick — of each other." Personally, I LOVE spending time with my wife, and if there's one positive thing about this pandemic it's that I'm able to get a little more time at home with my wife and stepdaughters. None of us are running for the door. In fact, we've all been enjoying time together -- doing home projects, handling e-learning, playing soccer and basketball in our yard, and more.

Kelley and I met five years ago and were married in 2018. For both of us, it's our second marriage -- and our last. We were blessed to be married in the Catholic Church and are committed to each other, our faith, and our path in life together. A pandemic certainly isn't going to change our hearts for each other.

The article I read said that divorce lawyers across America have seen an uptick in calls from people ready to call it quits with their spouses after being quarantined together during lockdown. They're getting a preview of what retirement may look like side by side, and unfortunately for many people they're finding that they don't like it.

When the pandemic began, there were news stories about an expected baby boom being on the horizon for 2021 since couples are having to be at home more. However, it's actually an increase in the divorce rate that is now looming. Affairs are being uncovered, financial stress is taking a toll, and couples are having to deal with running their homes more frequently side by side -- which unfortunately for some is a real challenge. Many attorneys are reporting that people are calling for divorce information, and they're waiting for either their government stimulus check or their tax return to arrive -- and then file for divorce.

Divorce attorneys appear to agree that a decision to divorce shouldn't be made impulsively, especially amid the financial and social uncertainty the pandemic has introduced. Once things return to a more pre-pandemic state, courts will be dealing with a backlog of matters... including divorce proceedings that were initiated before the pandemic. For those who file for divorce in the coming weeks and months, it may be some time before they are actually working through the legal divorce proceedings. It's like taking a number at the local bakery and waiting your turn.

On the flip side, for those who are looking to get married in the coming weeks and months, many attorneys have noted that the pandemic has prompted couples to start adding pandemic clauses to new prenuptial agreements to spell out exactly what should be done in such an instance.

The U.S. national average cost of divorce is about $15,000 per person. The cost includes attorneys' fees, court costs, and the cost of hiring outside experts -- like a tax adviser, child custody evaluator, or real estate appraiser. At a time when many couple's bank accounts are depleted as a result of the Coronavirus, it could become quite a challenge for people to fund their future divorce process.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso