How Covid-19 Continues to Affect Families & Relationships in 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many people’s lives. The added stress placed on people during the pandemic has also led to an uptick in Arizona divorce filings. The pandemic has also made child custody and divorce matters more complicated.
Multiple pandemic-related factors have caused more emotional turmoil and problematic divorce and child custody matters.
Licensed legal paraprofessional Stephanie Villalobos, LP of De Novo Law can help you to navigate family law issues during this troubling period. Here are some factors that have impacted families across Arizona during the pandemic.
Added Stress Caused by Working from Home
When the pandemic started in 2020, many companies reacted by closing their offices and having their employees work from home.
Some companies have decided to continue with remote work, and their employees have now been working from home for nearly two years.
While some couples thrive on having more time to spend together, others do not. Working from home prevents some people from being able to get their work done each day without possible distractions from their spouses and children.
It can also be stressful trying to handle work and home obligations and to avoid interruptions within the home environment. This added stress has resulted in some couples deciding to end their marriages and file petitions for divorce.
Sudden Loss of Employment
Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, causing their families to experience financial problems. When one spouse is not working while the other spouse is following a job loss, the working spouse might feel resentful towards the other spouse.
Financial stress is one of the most common causes of divorce. According to a 2018 study by Ramsey Solutions, fights over money are the second leading cause of divorce.
When one spouse is unemployed, it can also place a significant strain on a marriage.
According to a study conducted by Harvard University, men who are unemployed or only working part-time are 33 times more likely to get divorced within 12 months than men who are employed full-time.
An Unforeseen Reduction of Income
Job losses have also resulted in a reduction of income for many families in Arizona. While some people have now re-entered the workforce, some have found jobs paying less than the salaries they previously enjoyed. Many families have budgets and bills based on the incomes they previously enjoyed.
Having a reduction in income can lead to the issue that some couples are unable to pay their bills and are in danger of foreclosure, creditor-debtor lawsuits, and bankruptcy.
Like other financial problems, the added stress of dealing with a reduced income and the problems it can cause is too much to handle, making some couples unable to resolve issues and choose to file for divorce.
A reduction in income can also be a problem for some couples who are already separated and have pre-existing child support or spousal maintenance orders. When a former spouse or parent has a court order to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance, he or she must continue paying the support as ordered.
If he or she has suffered a reduction in his or her income, continuing to pay support at the ordered amounts might be difficult or impossible.
People can file motions to modify their child support or spousal maintenance orders if they have experienced a substantial change in their financial circumstances.
Modification orders will not apply retroactively to cover arrearages that accumulated before the motion to modify was filed, however, so people who are in this type of situation should speak to an experienced licensed legal paraprofessional at De Novo Law as soon as they undergo drastic reductions in their income that will make it hard to continue paying the support as ordered.
High Medical Bills/Insurance Costs
According to data reported by the New York Times, more than 1.95 million Arizonans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 27,181 people have died since the start of the pandemic. While many people have only had mild symptoms, others have spent weeks or months in the hospital.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many private health insurers waived the out-of-pocket costs of their insureds who were hospitalized with COVID. However, most private health insurers are no longer waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID treatment in the hospital, leading to many people receiving large medical bills and dealing with high insurance costs.
Some people have also lost their insurance because of job losses and the inability to afford COBRA coverage, resulting in even greater financial problems. Like other pandemic-related stressors, high medical bills and insurance costs might cause some people to decide to divorce.
Unfortunate Death of a Loved One
Thousands of Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, causing their surviving family members to experience intense grief. After a loved one dies, the spouses might manage their grief differently. Some marriages are not strong enough to withstand the devastating loss of a loved one. Even previously strong marriages can collapse because of the stress of a loved one’s untimely death.
Following their loss, many couples go through serious marital problems within months, especially when the deceased loved one is one of their children. One survey completed by The Compassionate Friends found that 16% of parents who have lost a child end up divorcing. Those who seek grief counseling are likelier to remain together.
Experiencing intense grief about the loss of a loved one can also change the way that spouses feel about each other. Some couples might experience intimacy issues or communication problems while they are grieving, and the spouses might grieve in different ways.
It is common for people who experience the same loss to grieve differently from each other.
Married couples who have lost a loved one might mourn differently than each other because of the different relationships each had with their deceased loved one. One spouse might be open about how he or she feels while the other one might be reticent to share his or her feelings and remain silent.
Some spouses demonstrate grief outwardly through crying while others might try to avoid strong feelings of grief by pouring themselves into work. People might also experience cycling periods of grief.
Some might prefer to grieve in private while others are more emotional and resent their spouses for not showing how much they care.
Marital Disputes Over Vaccines
Disputes over vaccinations have also led to marital breakdowns for some couples in Arizona. Millions of Americans have received vaccinations, but some people have avoided getting vaccines because of vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, refusal, or skepticism.
Spouses who have different beliefs about the pandemic and the effectiveness of vaccines can result in fractured relationships and divorce. Many couples have had reduced social contact with their family members and friends during the pandemic, preventing them from talking about their disputes with their spouses and receiving advice.
Another major vaccination-related issue causing family law issues involves vaccinating children.
Married parents might disagree about getting their children vaccinated against COVID, resulting in arguments and increased familial stress.
Divorced parents who share children might also have differences in their beliefs about whether their children should be vaccinated against the virus, which can cause problems when they share decision-making authority over their children’s medical concerns.
It is unclear whether the decision to vaccinate a child is considered to be a major medical decision or whether parents who share custody are required to get the other parent’s approval before vaccinating a child.
Speak to De Novo Law
If you are experiencing family law issues because of the pandemic, you should speak to Stephanie Villalobos, LP at De Novo Law. Ms. Villalobos is authorized to provide legal representation to Arizona residents who are experiencing family law issues and can offer her services at a more affordable price than a typical divorce attorney.
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