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When we get married, we all have big dreams for our happy future. Maybe you envisioned a white picket fence surrounding your sweet cozy house. Maybe your wedding day was supported by toasting, celebrating and dancing friends and loved ones. your decision to get married and your goals for your future wedded life are important to remember in today’s world, and also, that not every relationship lasts a lifetime. Across our country the divorce rate is about 50%.  Irreconcilable differences is a requirement for divorce in Maricopa County and it means that your relationship ends requiring you to divorce. Thus, if you had wide-ranging goals for your marriage, it’s important to understand that you and your partner’s life circumstances may change very quickly and with that, some of your wide-ranging goals.

With COVID19, being cooped up in your home with your partner has shown to be incredibly stressful for many families, whether looking at divorce or not. After these long months since our government mandated shut downs, couples around the world have had to live very differently than before and are likely around one another a great deal more in close quarters. This can lead to unusual amounts of stress and anxiety, as well as disagreements, conflicts and rising tensions.  If you lost your job, the financial stress is overwhelming and may be too much to deal with. Many couples are coming to the final conclusions that they are no longer a good match and they are preparing to take next steps, at least mentally if not legally. If you and your partner are thinking about separating, there are a few things you need to know about the impacts of divorce before you meet with your attorney.

Long before COVID-19, financial stress was one of the top three reasons for divorce.  The other two are abuse and addiction, and these two are also on the rise during COVID19.  With job losses and rising costs, the pandemic did nothing to reduce the financial stress of married couples. However, divorce always changes your financial situation so combined with COVID19 stressor, it will be even more challenging.  If you handle your divorce in a certain way, called the “old fashioned” way, it can be very very pricey.  Your legal process will include an assortment of fees such as attorney fees, filing fees, service fees, and other associated expenses and the cost of two places to live with a physical separation. Some case will fare best with the oversight and professional care of a divorce mediator and may require other professional assistance to enhance the divorce process and to help simplify your separation. Quite often, your or your spouse may be required to pay alimony or child support depending on your personal situation. This can play a role in your ability to move forward after the separation. It’s important to understand that things aren’t always completely simple when it comes to the financial side of divorce, so be prepared for the possibility that this could affect your finances.  Becoming prepared by meeting with a experienced and widely-skilled attorney and mediator to plan your steps and strategies in advance is a very wise way to begin your process.

Separating from your partner often carries a social impact. While it’s easy to think that your social life won’t be affected, the reality is that you and your partner likely have shared friends, contacts, or coworkers. Separating your life physically is more complicated than it seems because if you’re used to hanging out in groups or spending time with specific friends, you may find that your friends become more distant because they do not want to be forced to choose.  You will lose some of your in-law family relationships and your joint friends and colleagues.  In some cases, they may choose to spend time with your ex-spouse instead of with you. In other cases, they may avoid inviting either one of you in order to avoid disagreements or social problems. Additionally, your friends may not know what to say to you during this time. It’s important to join a support group or focus on staying social and engaged in different relationships during your divorce, as this can help you cope with any friendships that wain due to the discomfort they may feel from your divorce.  It is important to note that as you change from your divorce process, the fabric of your social life will likely change with you.

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is the emotional impact that ending your marriage can have on your life. Whether you and your partner were married for months or decades, separating your lives can be very difficult. Chances are that you’ll experience a variety of emotions: anger, sadness, relief, frustration. In some cases, you might feel angry with yourself. You might feel disappointed in your former partner or yourself or both. You also may have positive feelings of relief and happiness and emotions tend to go up and down during and after divorce. All of these emotions are normal, but they can be a lot to deal with. Make sure that you seek divorce and grief related to divorce counseling that is intended to help move through this time.

There are other steps you can take to help deal with the emotional impact of divorce. Start some brand, new activities such as running, hiking, or reading. You may also find that journaling is a great way to calm your thoughts and clear your head. In some cases, spending time with other (maybe new) people can be helpful give you new perspectives and ideas.  If you choose to separate while you’re still in “lockdown,” (COVID19 quarantine,) you may be limited as to how you can relieve your stress, however do your very best to find time for yourself alone.  If you’re working from home, for example, don’t be afraid to take walks by yourself, or to enjoy a long bubble bath, or listen to music that you really enjoy. Even taking small steps to care for yourself can make a big impact emotionally.

No matter what led to your separation or divorce, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Although COVID-19 may have exacerbated the ending of your relationship or marriage, understand that in many cases, this simply uncovered existing problems that have already existed prior to Quarantine. Talk with your attorney as soon as possible when you’re ready to start the divorce process, because they will assist you in dealing with these challenges, planning as well as possible and understanding the current changes to the court system after the pandemic.

McMurdie Law and Mediation is available to help develop resolutions that are healthy and beneficial to all parties. We are currently meeting with clients virtually and in-person following CDC protocols. Mediation can be held using any modality available by computer, whether it’s a Zoom, FaceTime, or another similar software. Call McMurdie Law and Mediation at 480-777-5500 today to schedule a consultation.