A surge in divorce is expected across America after COVID-19 confinement ends. Financial stress, tensions, and conflicts due to prolonged proximity are amongst the biggest reasons.
For couples who are going through a divorce and still living together, confinement forces them to find amicable solutions to make isolating as smooth as possible, taking into consideration the well-being of everyone – especially children.
Here’s How To Survive The Lockdown While Living Under One Roof
Resolve Quarantine Conflicts
During the lockdown, courts are closed, so if you’re going through a divorce, you will have to wait until after confinement is lifted before things are settled. Although some courts are already using technology to fast track the process, such as e-filing of documents or attendance via video conferencing, not all courts are technologically advanced, and more complex cases or contested hearings may require a personal appearance.
In the meantime, if you’re still living together, conflicts are bound to happen more often, as you are seeing each other every day.
A UNLV relationship therapist suggests drawing up a relationship separation contract, which outlines each person’s role with each other and the kids. Staying under the same roof becomes manageable if you define your space and distance your emotions if you’re not able to move out because of a pending divorce. As soon as uncertainty is taken off the table because you’re setting up a fixed period and defining roles, life becomes easier when you’re isolating.
Dealing With Children
Regardless of your children’s age, you are dealing with them together 24/7, and the suspension of school and activities can put a strain on everyone. While still living together, work with your spouse to make confinement bearable. It’s also important to talk to your kids about the temporary arrangement due to the virus and what will happen afterward. Additionally, finding productive and creative ways to entertain kids should be discussed with your spouse.
Daily walks, bike rides, sack races in the yard or yoga are great at letting children burn off energy while puzzles, board games, gardening, and cookery or baking lessons are fun and stimulating. For older children and teenagers, video games help them socialize and stay busy. Gaming also offers other benefits, including enhanced coordination, development of problem-solving and multi-tasking skills, and improved attention and concentration.
Your relationship contract can remain in place for the duration of the lockdown, but there’s no reason you can’t do another one after confinement is lifted. While it’s true that divorce is another layer of complexity during COVID-19, the physical and financial stressors that were already present before the virus will still be there. For this reason, it’s important to take control of your lives, discuss your divorce bill, reassess financial settlements and proposals, and revisit co-parenting arrangements, taking into account the impact of the virus on your plans, time and money situation.
The coronavirus has drawn the world to a standstill, putting those going through a divorce in an even more difficult and complex situation. By resolving conflicts, discussing future plans, and keeping the interests of children in mind, it is possible to get a sense of stability while living together under quarantine.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.