By Jovanna Mastro

If sharing your home with your spouse is starting to feel more like a prison during this stay-at-home order period, just know you are not alone. Couples all over the globe are trying to adjust to a new way of life that involves staying/working at home with their spouses and families. With increased time together and no outside distractions, fights are bound to increase. Couples also have an opportunity to really examine their relationship and their marriage.

Think about it – how many wives out there cringed at the thought of March Madness being cancelled because your husbands wouldn’t be entertained nightly by the TV?!  I know that I sure did. March Madness is something my husband looks forward to all year. I’ve even joined in the past couple years and filled out brackets.

The reality of this situation is this: Couples are either going to get closer during this period or drift further apart. Divorce rates in China have spiked and filings are on the rise as couples emerged from quarantine. Chances are, the same thing is going to happen across the United States.

So, if you find yourself in this position and you’re wondering how you are going to survive the next month, here are some tips on how to prepare yourself to face reality that your marriage may be over once this quarantine has ended.

  • Get your finances in order. If your family finances were something that your spouse took care of throughout your marriage, take this time to get up to speed. Find out as much information as you can about your assets and debts. In North Carolina, your marital estate is valued on the day that you separate. So, it is extremely important to know as much about your assets if you feel that separation is imminent. If you don’t have a bank account or credit card in your own name, go ahead and try to get one. Good credit is an important foundation to financial well-being. Also, make sure your spouse is not racking up a ton of debt in the meantime.
  • Make a budget for yourself. If your spouse generally took care of the bills for the household as well, take this time to get up to speed on those as well. Find out how much your electric bill is, your water bill, gas bill, exterminator, etc. Total up the average you spend per month on groceries for your family. An important part about separation is figuring out how much it will cost to support yourself and/or your children without the income of the other spouse and if it’s is doable for you. For some spouses, it is not, which is an important thing to know right off the bat when you consult with an experienced family law attorney.
  • Establish a Support Network. There is no better time than the present to reconnect with family and friends. Separation is emotionally draining for all parties involved. Set up regular FaceTime or telephone calls with your family members and friends so that you have a strong support network if you do decide to pull the trigger post quarantine. Let your trusted family members know that things are rocky, and you are struggling. No one should have to go through this alone. However, do refrain from oversharing about your marital issues on social media. Your Facebook friends do not need to know every time you and your spouse get into a fight!
  • Consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney. There is no one-size fits all approach to a divorce case. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to talk to a family law attorney and know your rights and options before you separate from your spouse.

Our experienced team of Family Law Attorneys at Marcellino & Tyson are happy to schedule a virtual or phone consultation with you to discuss your individual needs.

These materials are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.