Pandemic fuels jump in divorce filings in CA: Tips to prepare

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives. We have changed how we work, how we educate our children and how we socialize. It is not surprising these changes have had a serious impact on our daily lives, and we are now starting to see the stress lead to a spike in divorce rates.

Legal experts nationally reported a 30% increase in divorce settlements over summer months and as of January 2021, experts in California are reporting a 50% increase in divorce consultations. All these changes noted above are clearly taking a toll.

Although some couples may experience a rough patch, others may realize these extreme conditions highlight bigger problems not so easily smoothed over. Couples that already found themselves in unstable marriages no longer have distractions to help buy time and avoid difficult discussions. Now couples with unhappy marriages are forced to face the issues that are present in the marriage and decide whether they are worth fighting for, or if it is best to move on.

What should I do if I am considering a divorce?

One of the first steps to take when considering a divorce is to get paperwork in order. Gather information about savings and retirement accounts as well as any investment accounts and past tax filings. Put together a list of assets and debts and be sure to include any business interests. It is also a good idea to review past spending habits and put together a budget for future expenses. This will prove valuable to help negotiate the asset division discussions.

If children are present, start to plan child custody and child support arrangements. Unless there is a history of abuse, experts generally agree that active involvement from both parents is in the best interest of the child. If possible, try to find a co-parenting arrangement. If not, look into other options that can help to make the transition as easy as possible for the children.

How does the divorce process work?

Gone are the days when a traditional courtroom battle was the only option for a divorce. Various alternatives are now available, making it possible to move forward with a divorce that focuses on negotiations instead of litigation. These options include mediation and collaborative divorce. Both allow for active involvement and a settlement that is more tailored to your specific situation.

Unfortunately, these alternative methods are not always an option. In order to work, both parties need to be invested. If not, litigation may be the best choice.