Balancing the Pandemic and Your Family
The effects of the pandemic that paralyzed our nation in March are still being felt in ripples that are hard to quantify, even beyond the effects that economists have been tracking since the quarantining of a nation. The impact on families, especially those who are in the process of redefining their lives through the legal system, has been significant.
For example, couples that were in the process of dissolving their union when businesses and life in the outside world ground to a halt, are now facing an added layer of anxiety that could not have been foreseen. If you had been on the verge of separating, the sudden restrictions, uncertainties, and closing of offices and courts may have put your plans in limbo.
Couples who feel stuck in unhappy marriages may also face record levels of unemployment and unexpected furloughs, which add an extra dimension of financial stress you could never have anticipated. The increased emotional anxiety that resulted from all of the upheaval is likely to increase the potential for conflict in an already tenuous situation. Such conflict impacts children involved in custody disputes, and it creates a greater risk of domestic violence.
If, on the other hand, you had already separated or divorced so that custody and support have already been determined, there are several factors which could cause the need for a modification. One parent may have a profession which makes him or her more likely to contract Covid 19, a parent may be facing a change or loss of employment, and many parents are navigating changes in day care due to school closures.
In an ideal world, this could remain fluid given the current circumstances, but when the welfare of a child and a household are involved, the need for guidance from a professional is paramount. The reality is that the longer the pandemic continues, the more agreements and court orders are likely to be affected. Support and custody modifications will remain necessary as circumstances evolve.