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Although North Carolina and the rest of the country are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries are beginning to emerge from stay-at-home and lockdown orders. And, aside from the expected issues transitioning back into a new normal, there are a few unexpected side effects as well.

The number of divorce filings in China has shot up dramatically as families have emerged from lockdown and courts have re-opened. Media reports have indicated that several Chinese provinces are experiencing long backlogs for couples to file for divorce, with personnel working around the clock to process paperwork.

And, back here at home, experts predict things may unfold the same way. Lawrence Birnbach, a psychoanalyst who practices in New York City and Connecticut, talked to the New Yorker about two of his married patients. “They’ve been arguing more than usual because one person doesn’t take precautions exactly the way the other one wants them to,” he explained. “ ‘You didn’t wash your hands long enough. You took the subway. Don’t you care about me?’”

The New York Times has even used the term “covidivorces.” Says Dr. Lucy Atcheson, a London psychologist, “It’s like putting all our issues into a frying pan and really heating them up. Something like this also makes you realize how short life is. So if you’re in a bad relationship, you’re going to leave when you can, because you’re going to realize life’s too short to suffer like this.”

If you’re thinking about a divorce during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes, and every family is under a great deal of stress. We always urge our clients not to make any rash decisions during this time, but we are here for you when you need legal help.

A divorce is a civil lawsuit, and North Carolina courts are currently closed until June 1, 2020 for hearings and orders (other than emergencies). However, there are certain steps you can take right now if you and your spouse are certain you are ready to divorce.

Our office has secure technology that allows documents to be electronically filed, as well as utilize video meetings if necessary. We can use innovative solutions to negotiate as much of your divorce agreement as possible in order to expedite your divorce once the courts are back up and running. We also offer divorce mediation and arbitration if you need assistance resolving conflicts.

A note regarding domestic violence: North Carolina courts are still open for emergency hearings, including for domestic violence orders. Our attorneys can help you secure an emergency order. If you or your child are in immediate danger, please call 911. The NC stay-at-home order has an exclusion for victims of domestic violence, and you are allowed to leave your home if you fear for your or your child’s safety.

At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, our first priority is protecting our clients and fellow citizens. If you need assistance with a family law issue during this complicated time, our attorneys are here to help. Call us in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington at 704-321-0031, or visit our contact page, and schedule your consultation today.