Attorneys notice more couples inquiring about divorce during pandemic

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:16 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In sickness and in quarantine-- the coronavirus pandemic has couples spending a lot more time together for better, or in some cases, for worse.

Some Michigan attorneys say more people are considering divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been getting quite a bit of people asking about divorce,” said Jeffrey Lance Abood, a divorce attorney for Abood Law Firm.

Abood said in a normal year, August is usually a busy time for divorce lawyers, but now during a global pandemic, it has picked up even more.

“People that tried to make it work are realizing it’s better off separate,” said Abood. “And then there are other people, too, that thought they had great relationships and maybe they did but when you take away your jobs and force them to be together for so long, it happens to the best of us.”

Dr. Sara B. Dupuis, a local marriage counselor, said the stress, the unknowns of unemployment and lockdowns are testing many relationships.

“A lot more couples are reaching out and calling for therapy because it’s very ambiguous for a lot of couples for what direction they need to go to,” said Dupuis. “Especially if they have had their jobs impacted and the family finances impacted and now with all the school choices and decisions, so a lot of couples are feeling on hold right now.”

Abood says although more couples may be considering divorce, he’s finding that court closures have slowed down the ability for couples to officially file for one.

“Availability to courts has been very limited, so we have been able to resolve more disputes through mediation,” said Abood. “But I think with unemployment rates and other outside factors, I think people are just holding off to see what happens.”

Dupuis go-to advice for right now is to communicate, slow down and respect the need for some alone time.

“But also take some time for each other-- be creative. But we also have to make space for talking about your feelings and emotions.”

Right now most therapists are offering virtual counseling sessions with couples during this time of social distancing.

Attorneys are also seeing a rise in changes to custody agreements, as divorced parents work to figure out back to learning plans for their children.

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