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Should I File For Divorce During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Sheltering-in-place and quarantining with your spouse and children is enough to make anyone crazy. Small arguments escalate into larger problems and you’ve probably come to the realization you hate how your spouse chews their food or hums while they work. China saw an uptick in divorce filings once the tight restrictions were lifted and divorce attorneys expect to see a similar trend in the United States.

Sounds like you should file immediately, right? We recommend waiting until the stay-at-home orders have been lifted and giving life time to return to normal before making a final decision. However, if you’ve used the past few months to think about it and are now ready to proceed. The Ramos Law Group is here for you if you are ready to file for divorce and begin the divorce process, but we have a few things for you to consider before pulling the divorce trigger.

  1. Living arrangements:
  2. While it may be time for you to move on, how will living arrangements be determined? We are in an economic downturn and now may not be the time to put the marital residence on the market. Many people have been furloughed or unemployed so one spouse may not have the income to qualify to rent a new apartment or other short-term housing. Family and friends may be reluctant to let you live in their home given the virus concerns.

    Are your current living arrangements going to get better after filing for divorce if neither of you has anywhere else to go? If finding additional housing is going to be difficult once the divorce petition has been filed, it may be prudent to wait.

  3. Child support:
  4. If orders are put in place relating to a child support amount, it may be difficult to modify that in the short term. If your job is safe now but you could be at risk in the next few months, it would be a poor choice to enter into a child support agreement now. The same goes for someone who is furloughed or lost their job – why get minimum wage child support from them now if you could get child support calculated at their full wages in the fall?

  5. Spousal support:
  6. If your spouse has been furloughed or let go due to COVID-19 and you are still working, you could be ordered to pay temporary spousal support. Would you be able to support two households simultaneously in an unstable job market? A lot of couples are finding it easier to look past marital problems then risk having to pay for two separate households.

  7. Child custody:
  8. Are you ready for a nasty custody battle with everything else going on? You both might be great parents and it could take expensive and prolonged litigation to determine who should have primary custody. Children are out of school for the summer and who knows what “school” will mean for Texans come fall. Will you be able to care for the kids while also working? Having both parents to juggle the kids may be an easier solution.

  9. Backlog of cases:
  10. Each Harris County family law court has thousands of active cases on their dockets. The majority of those cases, excluding CPS and emergency cases, came to a grinding halt when the county shut down in March. Surrounding counties are facing similar logjams. Whiling filing for divorce may give you satisfaction, the truth is the family law courts have not fully reopened and when they do, the previously stalled cases may take precedence. Your case might not even be heard for weeks or months. Then you’re living with an angry spouse with no judicial relief in sight for the foreseeable future.

The legal team at the Ramos Law Group has decades of combined legal experience and we love to litigate. It is very unlike our founding partner and Board-Certified attorney, Mary Ramos, to caution prospective clients to consider waiting before filing. In today’s world, however, it might make sense to evaluate if divorce is truly the only solution or if it seems like the solution because we are all deeply unhappy right now.

If you are ready to proceed with a divorce, we are here for you. Our offices are open and we can get an Original Petition for Divorce filed quickly. Sometimes divorce truly is the only answer. We are happy to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options and how to proceed. Call us today at (713) 225-6200.

Author Photo

Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

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