The coronavirus has taken a massive toll on families, the economy, businesses, and society.
The outbreak of the virus has also forced people to reconfigure everything from how they perform work and manage shopping to how they socialize and maintain relationships. For some, one unique complication of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, as well as family court closures in New York, has been the pause put on an initiated divorce proceeding. Currently, New York courts are only open for essential business. The additional pressures put on relationships can be taxing for all, especially those who are in the process of separating. If you and your spouse have been talking about divorce, have filed for divorce, or have recently divorced but are still living together, here are some tips for coping with the stress of quarantine coupled with living with your future ex--
Put Yourself First
Regardless of whether you’re going through a divorce or not--but certainly if that is an added stressor in your life right now--it’s important to find a way to take care of yourself. This might mean taking the time to video chat with friends and family, taking a relaxing bath before bed, going for a long walk, cooking a delicious meal, getting in some exercise, or engaging in another activity that you didn’t have time for prior to COVID-19. Try to disconnect from the things that are causing you stress.
Talk to Your Spouse About How to Proceed
If you’re in the middle of a divorce, meeting with the various professionals that help to facilitate the divorce process (your attorney, financial professionals, a professional mediator, child psychologists, etc.) may be interrupted or even impossible right now. This can create anxiety about the future and the unknown. Rather than letting that feeling of anxiety go unaddressed, it’s best to consult with your spouse about how you’d like to proceed. Are you both in agreement that things should be put on pause until life resumes as normal?
You’ll also need to have a conversation about what that means for your communication and interaction if you’re still living under the same roof, especially if you have children who may be impacted by observing your interactions.
Creating a Parenting Plan
Before your divorce is finalized, you’ll need to submit a parenting plan to the court for approval. Being stuck at home together with your children is a great chance to practice reaching an agreement about how time with your children should be spent. If you won’t be engaging in a lot of family activities together right now, try to reach an agreement about which parent will be responsible for what activities and when while you’re all living under the same roof and unable to leave. For example, will Parent A manage homework and homeschooling every other day, while Parent B manages meals on those days? A schedule can help keep you sane and provide a sense of normalcy.
Call Our New York Divorce Lawyer
While non essential family courts in New York are currently closed, our family law and divorce law office is still open. If you have questions about divorce during coronavirus or the divorce process in general, please reach out to us by phone or online at your convenience. I am here to help you when you need it most.