5 Practical Tips on how you can avoid “Virus Divorce”
With couples spending more time together than ever before in these unprecedented circumstances, it is certain to increase the pressure on couples’ relationships.
Increased time at home, anxiety and financial strain are causing more arguments than usual between couples. Perhaps one or both parents have lost their job/business/substantial income due to the virus pandemic.
Couples may also be home-schooling children (who likely have cabin fever from being stuck at home) as well as trying to stay financially afloat. It can’t be denied that these are stressful times that will test the patience of many couples. Us lawyers are seeing this first hand from the increase in our family law matters.
So far through the coronavirus pandemic, our experienced family lawyers are being kept very busy with a variety of matters:
- urgent court applications from parents not adhering to existing court orders – many using social isolation and social distancing as excuses (reasonable or not);
- increase in domestic violence matters – because couples are stuck at home together in a toxic environment; and
- new clients who have decided to end their relationship or marriage because social isolation has made them realise that they do not want to be in their marriage any longer.
Following the easing of social restrictions and lockdowns, we are predicting a “divorce pandemic” – a spike in applications for divorce from couples who have realised over the pandemic period that they no longer want to remain in the relationship.
However, now is really the time couples need their relationships and support more than ever and should use this time as an opportunity to reconnect and address issues that may have been simmering away for some time.
Here are our top 5 practical tips that you can use to help your relationship avoid becoming part of a “divorce pandemic” and come out even stronger once the pandemic is over.
- GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
While your time apart is going to be limited right now, bring physical space into the relationship where you can. This may mean working from different rooms (perhaps one upstairs and one downstairs if possible), one person wearing headphones or taking separate walks outside. This may also mean alternating who looks after the children from day to day, depending on which parent may be working or what their daily activities look like.
- MAINTAIN STRUCTURE
For your own mental health and the stability of your relationship, aim to keep a daily routine as best as you can. Include time for things you would normally do, such as getting up, getting dressed, having set meal times, daily exercise, time apart and family time together.
If you are home-schooling children, make a rough scheduled of who will look after the children, so that you both get a break and responsibility are shared.
- BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS
Many couples are experienced heightened emotions. This makes them more susceptible to being upset by their partner and less tolerant of their partner or of their children. Emotionally intelligent couples acknowledge their own emotions and allow space for the other person to have theirs.
Before you react, be aware of the emotions that you are feeling.
Acknowledging your emotions will allow you to speak more calmly and not say anything that may cause an argument and also allow you to be more understanding of your partner.
Try to get in some regular exercise whilst at home as this will assist with your overall mental wellbeing.
- CHOOSE YOUR WORDS AND TONE CAREFULLY
What you say and how you say it matters. Being critical, defensive or outright refusing to address issues will not assist with problem solving in your relationship.
If you are wanting to say something that may be difficult for your partner to hear, aim to use a gentle “start up” and share your needs in a positive way.
Try not to lose your temper and remain calm.
- MANAGE YOUR FINANCES TOGETHER
With many Australians out of work or experiencing a drop in income, financial strain is one of the major issues adding pressure to relationships.
Use this time to review your financial goals with your partner and regularly talk about how you can stay on track.
If you have taken a financial hit (as most couples have) throughout the pandemic, discuss strategies to get back on track with savings or improve cashflow. Also ensure that you research and are well up to date with any stimulus packages or payments that will be of assistance to you.
If you do decide to end your relationship during or following the coronavirus period, please feel free to contact our experienced family lawyers for expert family law advice – 3870 8244 (Toowong) or 3264 7692 (Albany Creek).
However, if you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, please call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or dial 000 is there is an emergency.