Divorce Mediation During Pandemics

September 21, 2020 in PeacefulSplit® Mediation

Covid-19 Causes Quarantines - It Doesn't Stop Divorce

While the impact of Covid-19 is being felt by people globally, it is having a powerful impact on couples and divorce. For so many married couples, these past months have been extraordinary - not because of the tragic way in which the world has shutdown and so many people have gotten sick or died - but because of how couples have been forced to spend almost 24/7 with one another. For many, if not most, married couples, normal times consisted of either both spouses working during the day or one working and the other caring for children. This daily routine gave each spouse breathing room during the day so that undercurrents of problematic patterns had at least a temporary daily break for a few hours. Covid-19 has created an unnatural change in balance for marriage couples. For those who relationship was solid before Covid-19, the change is challenging but manageable. This article will explore the impact of Covid-19 on couples who were at the brink of divorce.

The Timing of Divorce...

For couples who were contemplating divorce before Covid-19, they expected the process of weighing the pros and cons to continue unabated. When Covid-19 came along, the courts shut-down and no one was filing for divorce. Couples were forced to not only live together 24/7 and put off their divorce, but the stress levels increased exponentially due to the new opportunities for conflict in the relationship. Basically, the household became a pressure-cooker with no release valve available. The more time couple's on the brink of divorce spent quarantined together, the more pressure built up in the pressure cooker. In this environment, typical problems that might have been annoying or frustrating became intensely irritating and conflict provoking. For these couples, the desire to get divorced intensified and the wait for the court to open became a daily routine.

The Court Are Open - The Time To Resolve Your Divorce Is Now!

The Process of Mediation In The Age of Covid-19

Prior to Covid-19, I was conducting all of my mediations in person. I always thought and believed that having both spouses in my office was the best process and experience for all parties. For many years, that was my firm belief. Since Covid-19, I have been holding all mediations via video conferencing. In almost every case, I have noticed both partners feeling for relaxed and at ease being able to login and be a part of the mediation session from the comfort of their own home or office. Moreover, because of the technology, each partner is able to login separately. I initially thought that this would make the sessions more impersonal and give all parties a feeling of being disconnected. To the contrary, because it eliminated (or at least greatly reduced) the levels of stress, anxiety and apprehension felt by each spouse - and provided them a comfortable distance from being physically close to the other spouse while in my conference room - I am seeing both parties benefit immensely in the quality of their negotiations. Since they are each more comfortable with the experience, they are less likely to get "worked-up" when the other spouse makes or rejects a particular settlement offer. 

Mediation Creates An Environment Of Trust And Safety!

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