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Separating During a Pandemic

Making major life changes is hard enough. The uncertainty and restrictions resulting from the COVID pandemic have turned the difficult process of divorce into a formidable task. Thankfully, there is help to parents going through separation during a pandemic. Mediators and Collaborative family law professionals are offering their services through video link until we can return to meeting clients in person.

The pandemic has created new stressors for families and stress is a fuel for conflict. Here are some tips to help you navigate separating during a pandemic.

1. Manage your expectations (of yourself, your spouse and your children). Know that you cannot accomplish things as easily as you may have in the past. The need to multitask, uncertainty and change will impact your ability to meet your obligations. Be kind to yourself and others while you go through this transition.

2. Keep a list. Start making notes of your needs (must haves) and your wants (your negotiables). For now, keep a list of broad goals rather than very precise or exact outcomes.

3. Remember that your children need what they always have needed from you - love, guidance, nurturing, discipline, comfort and sense of safety. Do your best to provide these during this challenging time.

4. If you can, make time to discuss things with your spouse but do it differently than in the past. Set an agenda, set a time limit, agree before hand that no decisions will be made, the conversation is exploratory. Take and share minutes so you remember what you discussed. Pay attention to what your spouse is saying and repeat it back to them to be sure you have understood.

Help is available, even if much of it is by video link. Mediators and Collaborative divorce professionals can conduct safe, productive and private negotiations during the pandemic.

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