Interview: Business Insider

Divorce court is normally quiet during the holiday season, but this year it’s booming as the pandemic drives couples apart.

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  • Divorce lawyers told Insider the nature of the pandemic has led to feelings of desperation and contempt and pushed couples to ignore previous holiday niceties.

I spoke with Business Insider about the continued high rates in divorce when in most years there is a holiday lull; but 2020 is giving no breaks as the rate continues to soar:

According to Morghan L. Richardson, a matrimonial attorney and partner at Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron LLP in New York City, spouses on the outs tend to start the divorce process in January, so as not to spoil the holiday spirit for their children or other family members.

“If I’m handling cases, usually there’s this lull and people will say to me, ‘I want file, but I’m waiting,’ or they’ll maybe inquire, but they’re not ready to pull the trigger because, ‘We’re traveling for Thanksgiving and I don’t want to ruin the holidays,'” Richardson told Insider.

But this year, she’s got a roster full of divorce cases and plenty of paperwork to file for clients in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Richardson’s clients seem indifferent about potentially marring the holidays with their divorce news, and instead have an attitude of, “I’m just done. I’ve reached the end. I’ve been trying, this has been hard, the tension is just too high, and it doesn’t matter to me,” she said.

Married couples’ sense of urgency is compounded by the nature of pandemic living, the complications of home/remote schooling and the stress of the economy.

Additional stress, like leaving New York City to escape to more spacious locales has resulted in an explosion of child custody matters.

Richardson said some of her clients have also struggled to agree over relocation of their children during the divorce process. She usually has one of these cases each year, but is currently juggling five of them.

“We’ve had an explosion of cases where there’s a custody fight because one party is with the child in another state and the other party wants them to come back [to New York City]. Those are intense and very complicated cases that are very stressful,” said Richardson.

For more about the increased divorce rates, read the article.


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