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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

Will the coronavirus lead to divorce?

Do you feel like the only thing people are talking about lately is the coronavirus, or COVID-19? It's all over the news. People are being told to stay inside, to stay home, and to basically put themselves into quarantine. The idea is to slow down the spread of the virus by only spending time with your own family.

Interestingly, though, some experts think that this may push people toward divorce. One psychology professor noted in an interview with Quartz that "Scary times have the potential to drive people together or apart."

Opinions on same-sex marriage flipped in just 15 years

In the last decade and a half, Americans have completely changed the way that they look at same-sex marriage. Their opinions on it totally flipped in the past 15 years.

Per the Pew Research Center, 60% of Americans were against same-sex marriage back in 2004, while just 31% said they were for it. By 2019, a similar study found that 31% were now against it, but a massive 61% supported it.

Are you and your spouse growing apart?

One common reason for a divorce is simply that two people grow apart over time. The relationship seems to fizzle out and die. Neither one of them can point to a certain event -- a missed anniversary, a string of questionable text messages to a co-worker -- that brought on the divorce, but they still know that's where they're headed.

There are a few ways that you can know if this is happening to you. Some signs include:

  • The physical intimacy leaves the relationship.
  • You would prefer to be on your own or with friends, rather than with your spouse -- even when you're just watching TV or getting dinner.
  • It seems like every conversation turns into at least a minor argument.
  • You stop doing anything new and fun together, instead falling into a rut of the same old activities.
  • You stop asking each other how you're doing or how the day went
  • Your spouse seems like someone who is not there to support you, but to criticize your decisions.
  • When things do go wrong, you just feel like you don't care. You're apathetic. You know your spouse is mad and that's fine with you.
  • Communication breaks down or stops. You don't know how to talk to each other. Eventually, you stop trying.
  • Trust also breaks down. You start wondering if your spouse is actually being honest. When they're out, you wonder who they're with.

Don't do this if your child wants to live with your ex

You got custody in the divorce, and your child lives with you most of the time. Your ex is still around, though, and the child lives with them every other weekend.

You think it's going well, but then your child says they want to live with your ex far more often. Emotionally, it's quite a blow. It's tough news to hear. As you work through it, talking with your ex and your child to decide if it's time to get the custody arrangement legally changed in court, here are a few things you should not do:

  • Do not get angry. You may feel angry and hurt, and that's understandable. But having an angry argument about it does not help.
  • Do not ignore it. Don't hope that your child will just give up on the idea or forget about it. Communication is key.
  • Do not start badmouthing your ex. Don't insult them in anger or to change your child's mind. Remember that you are both the child's parents, and you always will be.
  • Don't refuse to even bring it up with your ex. It may be hard for you to admit it or bring it up, but they need to be involved too.

You can take a team approach to divorce

People often think of divorce as a battle, with one spouse set against the other. While this may happen, it does not have to be that way. You can take a team approach.

In fact, if you have children, many experts believe that a team approach is the best option. You and your spouse can admit that you are both unhappy. You can acknowledge that you need some sort of change. You can then work together to find a solution that puts your children first, rather than yourselves.

Changed circumstances may lead to child support modifications

When the court sets up your child support obligations during a divorce, they look at all of your current financial information. This generally just means how much you earn, how much you owe, what other obligations you have and things of this nature.

However, your child support payments could last for a decade or more. Is your financial situation going to look the same in five or 10 years? Are the payments going to be affordable?

When co-parenting, don't compete with each other

Divorced parents often feel an inclination to compete with one another. You want your child to love you more than your ex. Or, at least, you want them to prefer you. When it's time in the custody schedule for your child to leave your ex's house and come to your house, you want them to be excited. On top of that, you want them to be disappointed to leave.

This feeling may be natural, but it is not wise for parents to compete and attempt to be the "best" or the favorite. You have to put your child's best interests first, and competing with your ex often does the opposite.

Reasons people do not leave an abusive relationship

People often stay in abusive relationships for far too long. When you just read the statistics or look at one of these relationships from the outside, it can be very hard to understand. Why wouldn't they leave? Why do they stay with someone who commits domestic violence?

It's very complicated. Remember that leaving is not nearly as easy as it sounds, and people stay for all sorts of reasons. A few of them include the following:

  • They do not think that it is abuse. They have never been in a healthy relationship. They think that this is just what every relationship is like, so they do not know they need to leave in the first place.
  • They are worried about what the abuser will do if they opt to leave. They figure that dealing with mild abuse is better than saying that the relationship is over and then facing more violence.
  • They are in love with the person who is abusing them. They keep telling themselves that it will not always be this way and that they can fix the relationship.
  • They are dependent on that person. For instance, maybe the abuser is also the family's main breadwinner.
  • They feel embarrassed about what is going on, and so they try to hide it. They do not want their friends, family members and co-workers to know that they have anything other than an ideal relationship.

Can grandparents get custody of their grandchildren?

In divorce cases, grandparents may worry about their own rights to see their grandchildren after the split. That divorce makes family life far more complicated, but they love the children and still want to stay involved with them.

In terms of seeking custody of the children themselves, grandparents can do so, but it is rather uncommon for them to actually get custody. They may in cases where the parents have passed away or gone to jail, but a divorce case probably just means the official relationship is ending. To take custody away from the parents, the grandparents often have an obligation to demonstrate that the parents are completely unfit for that role.

Child support may not end at adulthood

Parents who are ordered to pay child support generally assume that it will last until the child becomes an adult. This is often true, but there is one key exception to keep in mind: Children with a disability.

Remember, a child who is disabled or who has special needs may not be able to live on their own, no matter how old they are. Just turning 18 or 19 does not mean they no longer need their parents. That obligation continues for the rest of the child's life.