COVID-19 has taken its toll on the United States for nearly all of 2020 with no end in sight. Businesses have gone under, individuals have lost their jobs, and life as we know it has changed entirely. For many families, the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic has put additional strain on their marriages. Houston couples who may have already been on the brink of separation suddenly find themselves quarantined with their spouses or dealing with unemployment and financial strains. If your marriage has suffered because of COVID-19, it is important to know that you are not alone.
According to a recent article in the New York Post, the number of divorces filed in 2020 has spiked. From March through June, the number of people searching for divorces was 34 percent higher than the year before. This is directly related to the stress of the pandemic, coupled with financial strains, homeschooling, mental illness, and unemployment. Couples already having trouble found their breaking point as the pandemic roared on. In fact, 31 percent of couples filing for divorce this year cited the lockdown as one of the main factors in filing. Surprisingly, newlyweds filed at a significantly higher rate. In fact 20 percent of couples filing for divorce were only married in the last five months or less. This was doubled the rate from 2019.
Why did COVID-19 strain so many marriages? For starters, the lockdown resulted in many married couples suddenly spending all their time together in one home. With little to no distractions or social events, this meant that many couples had an opportunity to examine their relationships or lack thereof. Before the pandemic, a typical dual-income couple spent an estimated 30 minutes together every morning and approximately two to three hours together every night. On weekends, time was often spent juggling activities, outings, children, and errands. After COVID-19 hit, couples were suddenly spending 24 hours a day together all week long with little to no breaks. This had disastrous results for many marriages.
Even if couples didn’t mind spending so much time together during the pandemic, the strain of financial difficulties, unemployment, homeschooling, and medical issues often proved to be too much to bear.
Did COVID-19 Wreck Your Marriage?
For most couples, COVID-19 did not wreck their marriages. It merely hastened the road they were already going down by highlighting the weaknesses in their marriages. If you are one of those couples, it is important to know what you can do to move forward in life and what your legal options may be.
In Houston and throughout Texas, couples do not have to prove fault, you can simply cite irreconcilable differences to begin the divorce process. Before filing, you must have lived in Texas for at least six months and in Harris County for at least 90 days. This residency requirement must be met before you can properly file for divorce in Houston.
Before the judge will consider your case, the judge may require you and your spouse to take a parenting class if you have children, especially if the case is contested. This Parent Education Program is available in your area and your attorney can help you find one to meet this requirement. After the initial filing, you and your spouse must wait 60 days before the court will finalize the divorce.
Your divorce attorney will help ensure that you meet the necessary requirements for filing for divorce before proceeding. In addition, your attorney will make sure that all calculations are done properly and that all assets and debts are considered and divided fairly.
These are difficult times and divorce is highly emotional. During the pandemic, you need an attorney that can provide you with additional support to help you weather the process of divorce and separation.
Call Our Divorce Attorneys Immediately
If you are considering a divorce, you need a divorce lawyer you can trust. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C. our Houston divorce attorneys will help you through the divorce process, while protecting your rights along the way. We will help you negotiate and reach a settlement with your spouse that protects your assets, your future, and your parenting rights. Our main goal is to secure your best future and to ensure that you proceed through the divorce process as efficiently and amicably as possible. We know how to tackle and navigate complex family law issues in Texas, and we fight aggressively for our clients every step of the way. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help!