The ongoing health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Americans to spend more time at home than usual. Many businesses have closed their doors, and companies across industries have restructured their workforces to account for public health and safety. People are working from home, kids are staying home from school, and this new reality has been harder for some people to handle than others.
One of the unfortunate potential outcomes of the COVID-19 lockdown in the Tulsa area and beyond is the likely spike in divorce cases due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place and stay-home orders. The old adage “familiarity breeds contempt” explains how spending too much time at home can lead to friction between close partners or relatives. When family tensions boil over due to everyone being stuck at home, the likelihood of divorce inherently increases.
Filing for Divorce in Oklahoma
Oklahoma state law allows for the filing of divorce with cause or a no-fault divorce. Potential fault could include adultery, abandonment, or incurable mental illness. In a no-fault divorce, a spouse or couple may merely cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for ending their marital contract. Basically, a no-fault divorce indicates that both spouses agree that their marriage is beyond saving and must legally end. The proceedings that will follow hinge on the property the couple owns, the children they may have together, and many other factors about their lifestyles.
Since people are spending more time at home with their spouses, this could be very good for some married couples and problematic for others. Some married couples function best when both spouses have regular time outside the home for work and social activities on their own. Other couples may simply grow frustrated as they adapt to living and working at home, potentially encroaching on each others’ personal space more often than they would like. If you feel as though your marriage is deteriorating, or if you and your spouses’ time together has uncovered irredeemable issues within your marriage, you might be headed for divorce.
Ultimately, there are countless possible reasons for divorce to arise, and the COVID-19 situation has emotions running high and people facing an inordinate amount of stress due to lost income, financial uncertainty, and other matters that commonly play roles in divorce.
Common COVID-19 Issues Pertaining to Divorce
In addition to boosting the divorce rate in Tulsa for the near future, the COVID-19 pandemic has also made divorce more difficult for those with existing divorce orders. For example, some parents have filed child custody and visitation disputes due to travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. Many court systems have shut down public access amid health concerns and delayed divorce case proceedings across the US. Law enforcement officials in Tulsa and beyond have also reported higher numbers of domestic violence claims in their jurisdictions.
These are only a few examples of how the logistical problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown are impacting family law, and the psychological impact of living under pandemic and quarantine restrictions can be taxing on anyone. All of these factors combined are going to have a significant impact on the Tulsa family court system, potentially leading to a backlog of cases while the participants of those cases remain home, uncertain about their futures.
Why Finding an Attorney Is Crucial
If you are experiencing problems in your marriage that have manifested during the COVID-19 lockdown, you are not alone. Many people in Tulsa and across the United States face similar situations and share your uncertainty. Finding an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests in divorce is a great first step in overcoming the anxiety and stress you may be experiencing about the ending of your marriage. An attorney can answer your questions, help you explore your options, and ultimately guide you through the legal proceedings that are more suitable for you.
Cases across the United States are already being pushed back into the fall amid COVID-19 restrictions. Finding legal counsel sooner rather than later can mean a swifter and more reasonable end to your divorce case. Your attorney may also be able to provide guidance for alternative dispute resolution or other tactics you and your spouse might explore to reconcile if your divorce proceedings would take an inordinate amount of time due to COVID-19.
Ultimately, securing legal counsel can help you have some peace of mind about your legal options during an uncertain time. Your attorney can help you determine if divorce is right for you or help you reflect on whether your recent arguments with your spouse may be the symptoms of other issues in play and worthy of further exploration. Tulsa divorce rates are rising, and if you suspect that you might contribute to this trend in the near future, seek legal counsel as soon as you can.