How COVID-19 Will Affect Divorce and Custody Cases (Spoiler Alert: They will Rise)

How COVID-19 Will Affect Divorce and Custody Cases (Spoiler Alert: They will Rise)

divorce-and-custody-casesEmerging evidence suggests that whenever the coronavirus pandemic begins to stabilize and fade, divorce and custody cases will sharply increase as they did after 9/11.

Custody cases will skyrocket, stemming from parental access being refused. Hardest hit will be the jurisdictions that are in full lockdown, as they can hinder the travel required for visitation.

There are parents who will take advantage of the opportunities the pandemic creates for not respecting the relationship and parenting time of another parent.

For spouses with marital issues, being locked up day after day, week after week, will produce one of two results:

  1. An increase in tensions to the point of divorce, as well as threats of violence or actual domestic violence; or
  2. The return of deeply meaningful communication between two spouses, that may either (a) lead to a better marriage, or (b) to a mutual decision to separate and divorce.

Initially, there will be practical problems regarding the loss of assets, retirement money, and jobs that inhibit separation and divorce. Meeting with a divorce attorney can be the key to learning how to move forward in these difficult times.

A couple of years ago, unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Legislature allowed parties to continue to live under the same roof while “separating” and working toward their divorce plan.

As a result, in Maryland, once you and your spouse reach a full written agreement on all custody and child related issues, as well as all financial and other issues, you can divorce either (a) immediately, or (b) whenever the two of you jointly wish, under the new divorce ground of Mutual Consent.

There is no longer a one year waiting period for divorce, even after you reach a written Marital Settlement Agreement (sometimes called a Separation Agreement).

Your first stop should be a free consultation with an attorney experienced in divorce and custody cases who can guide you forward.

SIEGELLAW can help. Call us at 410-792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.