THE CURRENT HEALTH CRISIS WILL IMPACT RELATIONSHIPS AND DIVORCE RATES
During this unprecedented pressured times, two things are certain: We are going to see CoronaBabies and CoronaDivorces. If your relationship isn’t thriving in these difficult circumstances, the small cracks are likely to become gaping chasms. Rachael Scharrer, Separation Strategist and Life Change Counsellor at Divorce Answered explores the new concept of “CoronaDivorce.”
American attorneys are reporting increased divorce rates due to the Coronavirus(*). Interestingly, in Australia, the restrictions aren’t as severe as the USA (namely New York), Italy and other places around the globe. As an Australian, you can still leave your home while observing the ever-tightening social distancing rules. As an Australian, you have access to financial support from the government, which isn’t an option in some other countries.
Remember, you do live in the lucky country. In Australia, for now, you are fortunate to have some relief taking walks, cycling and still being able to visit the shops (even a take away coffee) for necessities. You don’t have to be locked-up with your spouse 100% of the time.
If you are in a relationship:
The Coronavirus is creating new relationship dynamics. Never before will you have had to spend so much time with your partner at home - and it’s not a holiday!! While predominantly or exclusively at home with your spouse (and children), you might have noticed that your relationship is changing. You may be working and living in closer quarters, found that you have nothing to talk about and are driving each other crazy. Your intimacy may have even taken a dive. You aren’t alone in this relationship challenge. For some couples, the situation is highlighting qualities of their partner that they were once attracted to start to annoy them. While some people are conscious of trying to stop themselves from whinging and complaining about the small and insignificant details is impossible because the issues have become magnified and glaringly obvious.
If you are finding being around your spouse hard enough at the moment, the full extent of living in close-quarters is yet to be realised. You won’t know what has ‘hit’ until you are forced into isolation, are unable to leave the home (not even for groceries) and are unable to ‘escape.’
If you feel that the Coronavirus is the biggest test of your relationship and you don’t think that you will survive the (predicted) 6 months of restrictions, then perhaps it is worthy of preparing for the end (by that I mean a Coronavirus induced divorce.) By preparing, it doesn’t mean that you have to talk to your spouse about ending the relationship or end the relationship straight away. In fact, many couples prepare for a break-up and don’t follow through with the break-up. It does mean that you gather the relevant information, action some simple items and keep a few things in mind while going about your routines at home. The free Divorce Answered Separation Checklist is the ideal place to start. Log in and check-off the relevant items in the comprehensive list.
If you are separated and divorcing:
Australian family lawyers have reported an increase in enquiries from previous clients. The current health and economic climates are making it difficult for some individuals to follow or comply with orders. If there aren’t the funds coming into your account, how can you pay child support or spousal maintenance? If you are immune-compromised, are you willing to have your children for your court ordered or agreed time at the risk of your health? Other couples want to kick-start their financial settlements before the assets depreciate further or superannuation is accessed.
A note of caution: CoronaVirus alone is not an excuse to not comply with agreements and orders. It is also not an excuse to withhold children from their other parent or not pay particular settlements/agreements when your financial circumstances remain relatively the same as it was prior to Covid-19 and social restrictions.
Your family lawyer will be fielding many calls from other people in similar situations like you and able to offer individualised professional advice.
In the interim, in Australia:
True ‘CoronaDivorce’ is yet to reach Australia. The reality is that the way that divorce is structured in Australia, it takes a protracted time to get a divorce and any separations induced by CoronaVirus won’t be reflected in statistics for at least a a year. In Australia, from separation to divorce order, there are at least 13 months. Whereas, in the USA, people can almost decide to break-up and sign documents several days later. Thus, the true reflection of CoronaDivorce isn’t going to be immediate in Australia. Meanwhile, there has been a reported surge in the number of urgent applications to the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court (both which deal with family matters) and applications regarding parenting concerns due to coronavirus(**).
What can be assumed is that it is expected to see a correlation between the level of restrictions on people and relationship break-downs. While Australian’s are encouraged to exercise social distancing while still being able to leave our homes for a walk or to purchase essential supplies, it is unlikely that CoronaDivorce will reach the Australian shores.
For additional and personalised support, you may benefit from having a conversation about your situation with a Separation Strategist and exploring ways that you can either improve your relationship or take steps to move on from your relationship. Click here for more information or to book at session.
Plan for the worst; Expect the best