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Getting Answers: Divorce rates amid the pandemic

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Coronavirus Getting Answers

MADISON (WKOW) -- While it's unclear how the pandemic will affect divorce rates, Madison attorney Erica Gittings said her office has been receiving an uptick in calls from people who have questions about divorce and separation proceedings.

"Internationally, we've seen in areas where they might be further along in the pandemic, [that] there is certainly a substantial increase in the filing of divorce," she said.

With people staying home together for long periods of time during stay at home orders or self-isolation, there's more pressure on couples who aren't used to spending so much time together.

Gittings said that they try to talk through every possibility before recommending divorce.

"It's a really sad situation and [we're] making sure that people are making the right decision, and making sure that they are being advised as to their options and impact of divorce," she said. "That's something that family law attorneys are here to advise people [about] so that they're not making rash decisions in a time that's really stressful for everyone."

If filing for divorce or a separation is the road you and your significant other feel you need to take, Gittings said divorce proceedings are continuing almost as normal. The only difference is that everything is virtual, including getting your paperwork notarized.

For couples who aren't together anymore, Governor Evers has issued a separate order that addresses the time that children are with one parent versus the other.

Gittings said that order allows for court-ordered placement exchanges to continue under Safer At Home.

At this point, one parent or the other shouldn't be using the pandemic as an excuse to withhold children.

If so, you can file an enforcement action to get the courts to enforce that placement order.

"The vast majority people are making good decisions," said Gittings.

Gittings law firm, Cordell and Cordell, is sharing weekly webinars that answer many legal questions people may have during this time. You can visit their YouTube page by clicking this link.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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