Divorce & The Coronavirus in The Woodlands
While many people have begun prophesizing a coronavirus baby boom, divorce lawyers around the world—from New York City to Xi’an, China—have reported a very different kind of phenomenon: as lockdowns persist, an increasing number of couples are filing for divorce.
Why are couples making this big, often painful step now? What are the roadblocks which a couple that files for divorce during the coronavirus will face? Are there any benefits to getting divorced now? And what will happen to cases if courts shut down?
Leading The Woodlands divorce attorneys Grimes & Fertitta discuss the reasons behind the growing number of recent divorce consultation requests in The Woodlands and Houston, the pros and cons of divorcing amidst the novel coronavirus outbreak, and more.
Why have divorce rates spiked during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Splitting up during a global pandemic may seem like adding fuel to a fire. Then again, so does spending weeks or months cooped up with a partner who no longer shares your values, interests, or even your views on social distancing.
Of course, that is exactly what some states or companies are asking (or, in some cases, requiring) couples to do. With nearly half (46%) of business organizations having implemented policies for working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak and schools closing around the country, many American families are spending all day together.
While some couples are finding that the extra time spent together during the outbreak has helped them re-learn how to communicate, others have found that increased contact has only produced increased friction. Both outcomes are natural.
Many couples are also facing financial strain during the outbreak, which some argue may be contributing to some couples’ decision to divorce. Beyond the impact to retail, restaurant, and hospitality workers, the outbreak has had devastating impacts on the stock market and for companies throughout the oil and gas sector. Further, some parents who otherwise may have continued working have been forced to stay home anyway due to schools and childcare centers shutting their doors.
And while the current economic downturn may have contributed to some of the 50% increase in requests for divorce consultations seen by lawyers everywhere, history tells us it might have done so for reasons other than financial woes.
High net-worth divorces and the “benefits” of filing for divorce during an economic downturn
The increase in divorce consultation requests during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus bucks a long-standing trend. A multitude of studies (reported in HuffPost, The Atlantic, and elsewhere) state that couples are actually more likely to divorce during an economic upswing.
The rationale behind this is that when one or both halves of the relationship are feeling confident about their future prosperity, they feel more comfortable going separate ways. It is easier, for example, to stomach “splitting” half a mansion than “splitting” a smaller homestead.
However, an increasing number of couples have begun to notice the benefits of “selling low,” i.e. seeking a divorce when the wealthier spouse’s net worth—and thus any potential settlement amount—is at a low. This subject is, of course, a touchy one, and for good reason, but it is worth considering; high-net-worth individuals who have been considering divorce for some time may find that now is an ideal time to take the next step.
What will happen to my divorce if the courts shut down?
Whether you’ve just decided to file for divorce during the coronavirus or already have a divorce case making its way through court, it’s natural to wonder what will happen to your case in the event that you get sick or your county court has closed.
We will be posting further instructions with regard to court closures in Harris and Montgomery counties soon. Until that time, this document provides links to information regarding coronavirus court closures by state, and this page provides regular updates on coronavirus court closures and notices by Texas county.
Meanwhile, Grimes & Fertitta will continue to work on a divorce case. A deliberately small and close-knit firm, we will work to move your case forward as much as possible. We intend to leverage resources such as:
- The use of physical drop-boxes for the exchange of hard-copy documents
- Skype/Video consultations and mediations (as well as regular telephone calls)
- Processing and filing court documents electronically
The health and safety of our staff and clients is a top priority of Grimes & Fertitta attorneys, and we will continue to practice social distancing as long as is necessary.
Your The Woodlands divorce lawyers through thick and thin
Getting a divorce isn’t easy even during the best of times. Whether you are looking for a divorce attorney in The Woodlands, a Houston divorce lawyer, a lawyer with extensive experience in divorce and property division or other particular types of divorce, we have your back.
During these extraordinary times, it’s easy to feel as though no lawyers will give your divorce case the attention it needs and deserves. But at Grimes & Fertitta, we never treat our clients like just another case number to get back to once the air clears.
Work with a divorce attorney you can trust to keep your best interests at heart even when the going gets rough. Call Grimes & Fertitta at 713-224-7644 or contact us online to schedule your divorce consultation today.
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