Life is filled with traditions, rituals and rites that mark major transitions – graduation ceremonies, wedding receptions and retirement parties, just to name a few. But thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of those formal rituals are unavailable at the moment. Instead, we are forced to make do with calls and video conferences.
Losing these rituals can make transition harder, both for happy occasions and solemn ones. This includes divorce. What does it mean to finalize a divorce without standing in front of a judge in a courtroom? In a recent Washington Post guest column, one woman told her story of divorce in the time of Covid-19.
Surreal and Anticlimactic
The author, named Tiana, described getting divorced at her dining room table, seated next to her soon-to-be ex-husband and videoconferencing with a judge. Her attorney was also in the conference. Tiana noted that although she was dressed up and had done her hair and makeup, there was no sense of occasion. She had hoped for the formal atmosphere of the courtroom to cement the experience and make it feel real.
The whole thing took just six minutes, and she said it felt so uneventful as to seem “dreamlike.” It was an odd way to end an eight-year marriage.
Divorce Delays and Setbacks
The author also mentioned issues with her divorce that many others have experienced during this time. Although she had wanted to get a divorce in 2019, she and her husband had just moved to Tennessee, and needed to wait six months to establish residency before filing. They faced another 60-day waiting period after filing, and then all proceedings were delayed or suspended due to the months of quarantine. It was mid-May by the time they officially ended the marriage.
For anyone currently going through a divorce, this story may feel familiar. The divorce process already involves a lot of waiting, which can make it difficult to carry on with normal daily life. When the uncertainties and delays of Covid-19 are thrown in, everything can feel nebulous and unfinished.
Practicing Self-care and Adjusting
If you are currently going through divorce or will soon be divorcing, please be especially patient with yourself during this difficult time. When you can, observe the rituals and traditions that mark periods of significant change – even if you have to adjust how they are observed.
Finally, if you have questions about your legal options, timelines or any other divorce-related issue, please contact our office to speak to an experienced family law attorney.