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Thinking About Getting a "Corona Divorce?

Yes, it is possible to get divorced despite the challenges of the pandemic and economy. Added bonus: the creativity needed right now can stretch you out of the traditional divorce model - which is a GOOD thing!

Yes, the courts are over-crowded and backlogged. So, let’s get creative and find a process for getting divorced that doesn’t use the courts. Most couples actually can figure out how to divorce all by themselves. There are a ton of resources online, and through the family courts. If you have the resources and need some help, you can hire a mediator to help you to negotiate and draw up an agreement and a private judge to sign and enter your judgement. Mediation is actually much more effective, takes less time, and costs less money than going to court.

If there are some big power imbalances, trust issues, communication problems and/or financial complexity, you might consider Collaborative Divorce. This process provides the support couples need to divorce in complicated situations without the expense of going to court. Added bonus: it’s been shown to be the very best process when it comes to the children.

Yes, people do divorce and continue to live in the same house for economic and health reasons. There can be some serious weirdness about this, but it works for many families. What tends to work best is to carve out private living spaces for each spouse and develop a parenting schedule for taking care of the kids. Then, when it’s your turn to parent, you are the one using the kitchen and family room with the kids. When it’s your spouse’s turn, you hang out in your space and use the kitchen unobtrusively.

Another option, if you have the funds, is “nesting.” You rent one apartment and each stay there when it’s your time without the kids and stay at the house when it’s your turn to parent. Some parents also try living with a friend or relative during their non-parenting time. For most families this only works for a limited time…but maybe that’s all you need to get through the pandemic, build up the cash for first and last, etc.

Yes, people can find ways to get some privacy in order to negotiate their divorce online through video conferencing. Divorce mediation actually seems to be more efficient via Zoom! Parents need to get creative, though, about having those divorce meetings in a way that the kids absolutely can’t hear what’s going on. This might involve creating privacy rules in your house, opening up your “bubble” to a trusted babysitter while you sit in your car outside Starbucks (great internet, but not necessarily private) or in your garage. The best outcomes for children of divorce are all about keeping them away from the conflict, so make absolutely sure that they can’t listen in.

A final bit of advice about your Corona Divorce: Divorces which are all about fear and anger take longer, cost more money and leave behind a legacy of pain. To divorce wisely, find ways to settle your own stress: meditate, walk in nature, talk with a trusted friend or counselor. And do your best to take the long view. Your goal is to look back at your divorce in ten years and know that you accomplished this transition with integrity and generosity, helping your ex-spouse to trust you and to come to understand that the two of you can co-parent in the future with grace.

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