“Will splits soar after pandemic quarantines end?” Maria Puente, writing in USA Today, thinks that an increase in America’s divorce rate will be counted in the list of negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Couples are facing more challenges and may have fewer resources to manage them. Puente quotes relationship therapist Dr. V., who says, “Just as we are seeing increases in domestic violence, anxiety, depression, unemployment, loss and grief, we will see an increase in divorce directly related to COVID-19.”
While we’re hoping this prediction of an increased divorce rate proves overblown, at Geyer Law, we hope married individuals will review their estate plans before moving forward with divorce. The law considers a pair to be legally married until a judge has signed a final dissolution decree t, so a soon-to-be ex can end up having legal control over both your healthcare and asset distribution decisions.
Particularly in cases where there are children, each parent is typically concerned that those children might be disinherited in the event the other parent remarries. Our focus will need to be on changing beneficiary designations on wills, IRA accounts, life insurance policies, and health savings accounts to ensure client goals are met.
The pandemic, of course, has vastly complicated Issues surrounding eldercare, with so many millennials taking care of aging parents. Managing those caregiving duties, along with at-home schooling of children, remote employment,or employment status changes can be a cataclysmic combination.
Family counselor Erin Leonard, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today that “the loss of future plans with a partner is made more difficult by the current state of global affairs…facing what lies ahead alone may be terrifying.” Supporting the broken-hearted during COVID-19, Leonard says, is critical.
“While access to courts is now limited, when those restrictions are lifted, I have no doubt that there will be an overwhelming number of filings,” one New York divorce attorney told ABC News. Even during “normal” (pre-pandemic) time, we know divorce is a complex and deeply personal process, and our goal at Geyer Law is to do all we can to help make the process as painless as possible.
– by Cara Chittenden, Associate Attorney at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates