Recovering from a divorce is often a difficult process that takes quite some time. You may find yourself contending with financial challenges, the loss of your accustomed routine, obstacles to your relationship with your children, and stresses on your mental and physical health. Coping with all of these changes can become overwhelming even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, if you are recently divorced or in the process of a divorce in 2021, your recovery coincides with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are likely to bring their own set of personal challenges.
As you work to get your life in order during this difficult time, a strong support system is vital. Friends and family members, support groups, financial planners, therapists, and health professionals can all offer help in different ways, as can a Will County divorce lawyer who can work with you to address any legal matters that may arise. You may also benefit from these suggestions for dealing with the impact of your divorce and the pandemic on various parts of your life.
The Financial Impact of COVID-19 and Divorce
A divorce includes many possible sources of financial strain, including legal expenses, obligations to pay child support and alimony, the division of property and assets, and financial separation from your former spouse. Research shows that a decrease in your standard of living is likely after divorce and that you may need a substantial increase in income to make up for it. However, this may be especially difficult to achieve in the midst of the economic slump related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many individuals unemployed and resulted in significant decreases in revenue for business owners.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, it is more important than ever to protect your financial interests. Make sure you are prepared with documentation of all of your individual and marital assets and define your priorities regarding your most valuable and important properties like your home, business, and retirement accounts. If your income is limited due to unemployment or a lack of work experience, you may need to make a case for spousal support, especially considering that the job market may take time to recover.
After your divorce, you should take the time to create a budget according to your new financial reality, accounting for all of your regular income and expenses, including child support and spousal support that you pay or receive. Especially in the short term, it may be important to cut costs so that you can live within your means. For example, if you need to find a new place to live, you may need to look at temporary options while you save for a more permanent solution and wait for the housing market to become more favorable to buyers. You should also know that if your financial situation declines after your divorce, it may be possible to petition for a modification of any support obligations to make them more manageable.
The Family Impact
A divorce certainly does not have to mean the end of your relationships with your children, but it may change the way that they look and the level of effort required to foster and maintain them. If you are sharing parenting time with your former spouse, you will need to adjust to spending significant time away from your children and managing an effective co-parenting routine with your ex. However, COVID-19 can make this adjustment more difficult in a number of ways.
For example, maintaining health precautions between households may be difficult if you and your ex have different standards or different levels of exposure to the COVID-19 virus due to your occupations or lifestyles. Determining a parenting time schedule that works for both parents can also be a challenge, given the differing needs of parents who are working from home compared to those who are essential workers. Your children’s school routine can further complicate scheduling, especially if they are preparing to transition from remote to in-person learning. Whenever possible, flexibility and frequent communication with your co-parent can help you address these complications.
As a parent, you also have the important responsibility to serve as a source of support and stability for your kids. Divorce and its aftermath are times of uncertainty, stress, and emotional turmoil for children, and as a result, they may withdraw, act out, or develop symptoms of mental illness, including anxiety and depression. The pandemic only makes this time more uncertain, and it may also limit outlets that children would normally use to cope with a divorce, like spending time with friends, engaging in activities, or simply getting out of the house. Try to be patient and understanding of your children’s struggles, and make yourself available to listen when they need to talk.
The Health Impact
Your own mental health is just as important as that of your children, but there is no denying that it can be difficult to maintain under the stress of your divorce and the current state of the world. Many people who are going through a divorce at this time are also coping with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 or health complications of their own. If you find yourself struggling, it is important to know where you can look for support. Friends and family can be of great help, whether you are able to talk to them in person or virtually. Virtual support groups are also valuable when you need to talk to people with similar experiences, and virtual therapy sessions can provide safe access to professional help.
Physical and mental health often go hand in hand, and with that in mind, it is important to make time for exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and activities that promote both physical and mental health like yoga and meditation. Taking care to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection by wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated when you have the chance can also prevent you from facing an illness that could seriously detract from your quality of life.
As you focus on your finances, your family, and your health while your marriage comes to an end, remember that a divorce lawyer can help ease your stress by advising and representing you through any legal challenges that you may face. Even during this difficult time, it is possible to handle your divorce in a way that allows you to look toward a better future.